Four Stars

There’s A Star Above The Manger Tonight becomes Red Red Meat’s first vinyl reissue this week. ‘Experimental rock’ would not do this album justice — a more accurate description would be the incredibly catchy ‘ambient post-bluegrass slide alternative boogeyblues’.

It is essentially a series of fragments, a broken picture with no directions for reassembly. The Meatheads dismantle their grooves as soon as they’ve built them, dragging you kicking and screaming through the resulting sonic mess.

But don’t get me wrong, that’s exactly what works so well with this album. It feels like the Meatheads, in a break from washing out meat trucks, ran inside — blood still dripping from their hands — and just happened to bung together whatever they found into an abyss of distorted ambience.

It’s almost impossible to pin down a top track, but ‘Chinese Balls’ comes pretty close. Starting off with a groove that seems to mould 1987 Rick Rubin/Russell Simmons Def Jam into a redo of the Baywatch theme song, you’d be forgiven for thinking you had the wrong disc, before a guitar track that sounds like it’s been strung with spools of worn-out, dirty audio tape comes in. The bridge almost breaks down into an early Pink Floyd psychedelic ramble.

For someone not usually a fan of reissues, this album really is worth the hassle.