Sugar | Copper Blue/Beaster + File Under: Easy Listening

Merge (2012)
By DAN WEISS  |  July 17, 2012
3.5 3.5 Stars

Sugar - Reissues
Hüsker who? Hate to tell you this, but not only has Hüsker Dü gone up in flames, but none of the footage even survived the blaze. So open the appropriately titled "Gift" that begins Mould's second band's swan song, 1994's majestic File Under: Easy Listening. Sounds like a jet engine ripping through a huge Velcro tarp in slow-mo, eh? Then the tunes sink in: "Gee Angel," "Believe What You're Saying," and the absolutely wondrous "Your Favorite Thing" more than equal Hüsker's greatest, but so does the whole thing. Copper Blue (1992) is more celebrated, but it's actually a little too settled into itself ("The Act We Act" and "Helpless" have identical choruses, if not for one minor-chord monkey wrench). Still, Mould's short-lived '90s trio is a far simpler, and arguably rarer, joy than Hüsker Dü: endless guitars and hooks without flaw. As Merge's new reissues attest, the endlessness itself could be numbing. Two live shows, mucho B-sides, and the ferocious Beaster EP now all compressed into one gulp could leave even the biggest power-pop fan gasping for air. The band peaked more than they didn't, even on rarities like a cover of the Who's "Armenia in the Sky." Most importantly, the albums' studio jobs do them justice 20 years later.
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, 90s, rating,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   TITUS ANDRONICUS | LOCAL BUSINESS  |  October 18, 2012
    That intersection of punk and prog isn't new, but the prog/punk back-to-basics album is. Enter Titus Andronicus.
  •   WHAT'S F'N NEXT? DIVINE FITS  |  October 09, 2012
    When asked to name the best note for a one-note song, of course Britt Daniel is already sitting at a piano.
  •   OLD 97'S | TOO FAR TO CARE [15TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION]  |  October 03, 2012
    What if the Beatles didn't have an audience? That's a crude way of putting the seminal talent of Old 97's vs. the size of their cult, a small swatch of rock fans not put off by Rhett Miller's extra-Texan twang and country fans who could stomach Philip Peeples's steamroller rhythms in 1997, when they made this, their Rum Sodomy and the Lash .
  •   FOUR TET | PINK  |  September 04, 2012
    Ironically, this patchwork of 12-inch singles is Kieran Hebden's most delectable album-as-album.
  •   THE DARKNESS | HOT CAKES  |  August 22, 2012
    The most obvious strike against the Real Life Spinal Tap's reunion album (yup, first since 2005) is trying to find an excuse to care about it.

 See all articles by: DAN WEISS