venerdì 13 novembre 2009

Sugar "Beaster"

Decisamente in forma Bon Mould e i suoi Sugar in questo Ep che seguiva l'album d'esordio. In forma sia nei testi, ma anche nell'approccio musicale duro e senza compromessi di queste sei canzoni che per molti rappresentano l'apice della carriera del gruppo! (1993 Rykodisc)

As a commercial follow up to the massively successful ‘Copper Blue’, ‘Beaster’, a six track mini-LP with no obvious single, qualifies as an unmitigated disaster. But as a great rock album, exploring many of Bob Mould’s demons, ‘Beaster’ is a resounding success.

Although written and recorded at more or less the same time as ‘Copper Blue’, this record is at almost the opposite end of Bob’s musical spectrum in terms of accessibility. It all starts off quite quietly enough with ‘Come Around’ , a largely acoustic mantra, which lulls the listener into a false sense of security. Next up though is ‘Tilted’ - a headlong plunge over the precipice, with Mould’s vocals tripping over themselves in a futile attempt to keep pace as the guitars take the listener further down into the abyss at break-neck speed. The record bottoms out with ‘Judas Cradle’, a real car-wreck of a song and one of the bleakest moments in Bob’s back catalogue, with its guitars wailing with a real sense of anger and futility. ‘JC Auto’ indicates perhaps there is a future after all. Maybe. "You’ll be sorry when I’m gone/I guess you knew this all along" isn’t exactly Shiny Happy People. But the dynamics of the song and the shards of melody combine to rally things a bit and make this one of Bob’s finest 7 minutes. ‘Feeling Better’ is next, and the mood has lightened significantly musically, but there’s still a deranged feel to this song as it simply refuses to stop. What could have been a fairly conventional 4 minute song catches some of the madness of this record and loops on and on. Which makes the closing ‘Walking Away’ even more amazing - it’s almost a hymn as Bob sings the same lines over and over again to an organ backing completely removed from the intense guitar onslaught of the rest of this record.
‘Beaster’ lives up to its name in more than ways than one. This is the best possible counterpoint to ‘Copper Blue’. As with most of the Mould back catalogue, this is an essential purchase. (

Considering that the six songs that comprise Beaster were recorded at the same sessions which yielded Sugar's phenomenal Copper Blue album, it's safe to say that frontman Bob Mould was feeling one motherfucker of a creative jolt in 1992.
As an album, Beaster certainly stands on its own merits. But coupled with Copper Blue, the record reveals a fascinating and even darker, harder and psychedelic edge to Sugar's sonic assault. The crucifix on the album's back cover may point to just what's on Mould's mind here, a "concept" which extends to song titled like "Judas Cradle" and the vicious "JC Auto," the singer's answer to the intrusive media scrutiny that forced him out of the closet.
And what a better way to air your rage than on a mini-album full of some of the most furious rock of your career?
Mould does just that here, on the relentless "Tilted" and the raw-throated, impenetrable guitar wall of "Judas Cradle," both of which would have been the gnarliest songs on Copper Blue. Mould saves a killer melody and some inspired rock riffing for "Feeling Better," the disc's second-to-last song, and even succeeds with the sublime organ hymnal "Walking Away," which could have soundtracked a slow fantasy sequence in a futuristic movie.
Beaster is a potent serving of Sugar's deadly power-pop that demands your fullest appetite. (Jonathan Cohen -

- Come Around
- Tilted
- Judas Cradle
- JC Auto
- Feeling Better
- Walking Away


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