Album: Meat Puppets, Lollipop (Megaforce)

Lollipop is the best Meat Puppets album since the halcyon days of Up on the Sun and Mirage, full of scudding lysergic country-rock grooves bound in twisting skeins of dervish lead guitar.

Curt Kirkwood remains one of US alternative rock's most distinctive talents, both instrumentally and lyrically: the reggae skank "Shove It" finds him "swearing at the rain as it fell", while in "Amazing" he's trying "to slap the face of an alien", neither common pursuits in pop. But the latter's haunting melody offers a timely reminder of his great tunesmith skills, best represented in the catchy "Damn Thing" and the rockabilly number "Baby Don't", which sounds like a spaced-out Everly Brothers, thanks to the Kirkwood brothers' unusual harmonies. What's new is the sun-bronzed muscularity of the rhythm section, most potently effective in the opener "Orange".

DOWNLOAD THIS Damn Thing; Amazing; Baby Don't; Orange; Vile