Veteran independent rockers the Meat Puppets finally took the plunge and signed with a major label in the early '90s, London Records, the first home of one of their favorite bands, ZZ Top. Judging from their previous release (1989's Monsters), it appeared as though the trio was going in a more experimental direction, away from the raw and direct approach of their early works. But the Puppets surprised their fans by going back to their live-in-the-room feel, resulting in one of their finest albums, 1991's Forbidden Places. Unfortunately, it became yet another criminally overlooked release for the band, getting lost in the shuffle since it was released just prior to the Seattle explosion in the fall of 1991. The turbo-charged album opener, "Sam," is a razor-sharp rocker that features a humorous, lightning-fast vocal delivery from the Kirkwood brothers; other standouts include the bluesy "Nail It Down," the tranquil "This Day" and "No Longer Gone," and such ragers as "Open Wide," "Popskull," and the title track. And what Meat Puppets album would be complete without a few country ditties? The lonesome "That's How It Goes" and the breakneck album-closing instrumental "Six Gallon Pie" showed off the trio's cowboy roots splendidly. ~~ Greg Prato
trACks:- Sam - Nail It Down - This Day - Open Wide - Antoher Moon - That's How It Goes - Whirpool - Popskull - No Longer Gone - Forbidden Places - Six Gallon Pie.