CMJ New Music Monthly

October 2002

Review by Patrick Kennedy

 

 

Eyes Adrift is an exceptional album, and it’s not surprising, given the outfit’s solid pedigree. Guitarist Curt Kirkwood co-founded the Meat Puppets, the Arizona trio who poured ambling, Grateful Dead-like country folk into American punk’s frothing mouth, and his languorous psychedelic colors are painted in broad strokes across this disc. Krist Novoselic, who many remember only as Nirvana’s lanky, slightly awkward bass player, hints at why that band reached such peaks, revealing – again – his innate value as a tendon between guitar and drums, as well as his gift for tuneful arrangement. Threads of Nirvana’s bare-boned, scruffy melodies are strewn throughout this debut. Beneath Novoselic’s lean bass and Kirkwood’s spidery guitar, drummer Bud Gaugh’s (Sublime) polished, intricate chops explore rhythmic patterns neither of the men up front visited with previous outfits. Eyes Adrift leans heavily toward the Meat Puppets, with Kirkwood’s subdued vocals accompanying his soaring Crazy Horse leads on the lion’s share of the album. Novoselic’s clear and earnest desire to make music again shines through, especially on the sad and creepy “Inquiring Minds,” whose repeated chorus, “They put flowers on your grave/Jon Benet,” provides a heavyweight metaphor for roads seen and taken by the band in previous band lives. They’ve all been there, and Eyes Adrift, a stunning, haunting, collection of eclectic rock songs, is all the more beautiful because of it.