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.
Related: Review: Joyful Noise, Alex Chilton | Free Again: The ''1970'' Sessions, Cardinal | Hymns, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, 90s, rating,  More more >
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