File Under: Easy Listening
After the inspired noise-fest of Beaster, it’s back to Bob Mould by numbers on Sugar’s final album. File Under: Easy Listening is cheerier than previous efforts from Mould; he pulls out the acoustic guitar for ‘Panama City Hotel’, while ‘Gee Angel’ is downright happy. It’s more pleasant sounding than Copper Blue, with a more relaxed overall tone and more textural range, but there’s nothing here that’s particularly revolutionary and it does feel like a retread.
Having said that, ‘Explode And Make Up’ is my favourite Sugar song, with a punchy arrangement that jumps from acoustic balladry to electric bluster within a few seconds. Bassist David Barbe gets a songwriting credit and lead vocal with the pleasant but generic ‘Company Book’. while some of Mould’s material is also uncharacteristically one-dimensional, like the repetitive rocker ‘Granny Cool’.
It’s easy enough to like File Under: Easy Listening, but it’s not compulsive listening like Mould’s best work with Hüsker Dü. The three Sugar albums cost me a grand total of NZ $13; see if you can find them all even more cheaply.