Beaster

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Beaster
Sugar Beaster.jpg
EP by
ReleasedApril 6, 1993
RecordedThe Outpost, Stoughton, Massachusetts
GenreAlternative rock
Length30:51
LabelRykodisc, Creation
ProducerBob Mould, Lou Giordano
Sugar chronology
Copper Blue
(1992)
Beaster
(1993)
File Under: Easy Listening
(1994)
Singles from Beaster
  1. "Tilted"
    Released: August 9, 1993 [1]
  2. "JC Auto"
    Released: 1993 [2]

Beaster is Sugar's 1993 EP. Its songs were recorded at the same time as the band's acclaimed first album, Copper Blue. However, it has a much denser, heavier sound, closer in spirit to Hüsker Dü than that record.[3] "Lyrically it's so unnerving for me to listen to it…" said band leader Bob Mould. "Musically it's harder, it's a little looser. Lyrically, it's a lot wilder than Copper BlueCopper Blue was such a great pop record that I just saw this as like the evil twin."[4]

The loosely conceptual work is built around religious imagery.[5] "I still don't know what it's all about," said Mould after its release. "The Jesus thing everybody picks up on – those are words that are not used lightly. Just the notion of somebody who can do no wrong who eventually gets hung [sic] for doing no wrong. I think that everyone feels like a martyr sometimes."[6]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Bob Mould; except where indicated.

Original album (2012 edition - Disc one)
No.TitleLength
1."Come Around"4:52
2."Tilted"4:08
3."Judas Cradle"6:15
4."JC Auto"6:13
5."Feeling Better"6:22
6."Walking Away"3:00
2012 edition - Disc two - DVD
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Tilted" (Promo video)  
2."The Act We Act"  
3."A Good Idea"  
4."Changes"  
5."Beer Commercial"David Barbe 
  • DVD tracks 2 to 5 were filmed live At Finsbury Park 13 June 1993

Personnel[edit]

All songs written by Bob Mould and published by Granary Music (BMI)

Produced & engineered by Bob Mould and Lou Giordano. Recorded at The Outpost, Stoughton, MA. Mixed at Carriage House, Stamford, CT

  • Mix assistant: Tom Bender
  • Mastered by Howie Weinberg at Masterdisk, New York
  • Art direction: Bob Mould/Kevin O'Neill
  • Photography: Sandra-Lee Phipps & Russell Kaye

Quotes[edit]

"I'm sure some people are going to perceive this as some sort of step backwards from the previous album. Some people will say it's self-indulgent. Almost anything short of community service usually is. People who have seen the band live will know this is not the case. This is the other side of Sugar that some people haven't seen yet, a style that we really enjoy. The presentation of the material is very demanding, very open to extrapolation, very fresh to us. You can make whatever you want out of it, that's what music is supposed to be about. Sometimes the experience of making music, or listening to music, shouldn't be overanalyzed and dissected. To me, that's what this piece of work is about." - Bob Mould [7]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars [8]
Robert Christgau(2-star Honorable Mention)(2-star Honorable Mention) [9]
Pitchfork Media(9.0/10)[10]
Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars [11]
Q4/5 stars [12]
Select5/5 medals [13]

"Audibly a disciple of Hendrix, McGuinn and Page, and propelled by the supreme engine room of bassist David Barbe and drummer Malcolm Travis, Mould's sound is dense but never turgid," wrote Mat Snow for Q. "Better still, his melodic instinct to head for the heights of epiphany remains intact; though on the face of it not a song here should raise even the thinnest wintry smile, tune-wise they beam with vitality and engagement."[12]

A retrospective review in Q maintained the 4|5 rating. "Mould called Beaster 'the bad Sugar' (destined, sadly, to be followed by the 'crap Sugar' of File Under: Easy Listening)," wrote Danny Eccleston, "and alongside his solo Workbook, it's about the best thing in his bulging portfolio."[14]

"It starts with an acoustic guitar," wrote David Cavanagh for Select, "achieves limitless levels of beauty in its 30 minutes and ends with the most gorgeous piece of music Bob Mould has been involved with since his heart-stopping solo on 'Green Eyes' off Flip Your Wig."[13]

"Rarely has a band rocked out with such bleak intensity and utter conviction," opined The Times. "A vast cathedral of noise and despair, erected and demolished in half an hour flat, this is an album which has to be heard to be believed."[15]

"Sugar are about the turmoil of the interior life," observed Melody Maker, "which is maybe why an album like Beaster is best listened to loud on the headphones at home rather than live."[16]

"The dark but insidiously catchy companion to Copper Blue confirms what those in the know had predicted," concluded The Daily Telegraph, "Sugar are definitely The Next Big Thing."[17]

Charts[edit]

Album
Chart (1993/2012) Peak
position
UK Albums Chart[18] 3
US Billboard Pop Albums[19] 130
US Billboard Heatseekers Albums[19] 4
US Billboard Heatseekers Albums[19] 8[A]
US Billboard Independent Albums[19] 46[A]
Notes
  • A^ Chart placing refers to 2012 release Copper Blue/Beaster.
Single
Title Chart (1993) Peak
position
"Tilted" b/w "JC Auto (Live)" (Limited edition 7") UK Singles Chart[18] 48

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Sugar-Tilted/release/536383
  2. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Sugar-JC-Auto/master/404156
  3. ^ Bogdanov, Vladimir; Thomas Erlewine, Stephen; Woodstra, Chris (2001). All Music Guide: The Definitive Guide to Popular Music (4th ed.). San Francisco: Backbeat Books/All Media Guide. p. 370. ISBN 9780879306274. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  4. ^ Cavanagh, David (July 1993). "Sidewalking". Select. p. 72.
  5. ^ Earles, Andrew (2010). Hüsker Dü : the story of the noise-pop pioneers who launched modern rock. Minneapolis: Voyageur Press. p. 220. ISBN 9780760335048.
  6. ^ Cavanagh, David (July 1993). "Sidewalking". Select. p. 68.
  7. ^ Granary Music; Bob Mould; Sugar; Husker Du (1999-03-15). "Sugar Complete Discography - Beaster". Granary Music. Retrieved 2012-01-15.
  8. ^ Rabid, Jack. Beaster at AllMusic. Retrieved 29 January 2007.
  9. ^ Christgau, Robert (June 1, 1993). "Consumer Guide: Honorable Mentions: Sugar, Beaster". The Village Voice. Retrieved 11 December 2011. Also posted at "Sugar: Beaster > Consumer Guide Album". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ Kot, Greg (2004). "Sugar". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. London: Fireside. p. 790. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. the equal of Copper Blue, but with less emphasis on melody and an even greater sense of goggle-eyed passion
  12. ^ a b Q, May 1993
  13. ^ a b Select, May 1993
  14. ^ Q, June 1996
  15. ^ The Times, c. May 1993, precise date unknown
  16. ^ Melody Maker, c. May 1993, precise date unknown
  17. ^ The Daily Telegraph, c. May 1993, precise date unknown
  18. ^ a b "The Official Charts Company - Sugar". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2015-08-10.
  19. ^ a b c d "allmusic ((( Sugar > Awards )))". Billboard. Retrieved 2015-08-15.

External links[edit]