On this 14th effort, the Puppets’ calm complexity sprawls through folk, reggae, blues, whammy hair rock, psychedelic grunge, boom-chick twang, and more.

Meat Puppets
Rat Farm
Megaforce Records

When it comes to crafting tunes, the Brothers Kirkwood smack formula asunder. On this 14th effort, the Puppets’ calm complexity sprawls through folk, reggae, blues, whammy hair rock, psychedelic grunge, boom-chick twang, and more. By masterfully layering tracks, these marionettes use rhythmic swagger to build momentum from which wild solos leap. Though Curt Kirkwood says he consciously tried to simplify the material for Rat Farm, it’s stacked with experimental effects. Trust: There’s 6-string freakout aplenty. On “One More Drop,” the guitar pans left then right, and a squealing ’70s riff rips. Curt’s bending gymnastics are feverish and expose an original who really can play it all. The laid-back vibe of that unmistakable drawl could easily fall into a safe pocket. Yet Rat Farm is both a genre Rubik’s Cube and a testament to how a group overflowing with talent has kept a signature groove over four decades while somehow bucking stagnancy.

Must-hear track: “Leave Your Head Alone”

A faithful recreation of the Germanium Mosrite Fuzzrite with a modern twist.

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The all-new HT series offers "heat treated" pickup technology along with the Cutlas HT, StringRay HT, and Sabre HT guitars.

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Presets extend the flexibility of an already expansive and easy-to-use reverb.

Intuitive. Great range in all controls. Well-built.

Some digital artifacts at long decay times.

$229

Walrus Audio Slötvå
walrusaudio.com

4
4.5
4.5
4.5

Walrus Audio is a prolific builder, but, as the five reverb pedals in their lineup suggest, they have a real affinity for manipulating time and space. The beauty of the Slötvå reverb (which is derived from the company’s very similar Spin FV-1 chip-based Slö reverb) is how satisfying and simple it makes dramatic shifts between time/space textures.

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