Monday, 9 August 2010

'I Want to See You in the Water With Your Hands on My Head' by @diaryofaledger

A request piece tonight as AT and I vacate our blogs and write for each other.  Check his post out on my site.  I sat at lunch with the Ledgers today and asked what or whom I should write about and MC called it, 'Sugar'.

The first thing to say about Bob Mould's (formerly Husker Du) first album with Sugar was that in 1992 the NME readership voted it the best album of the year.  'Meh,' I hear you cry in unison, 'like that means anything!'  Except '92 was the year of Nevermind and Nirvana madness and this still won out.  It's got lost since, firstly in the grunge swamp that flooded the world immediately after Nirvana turned into a global phenomenon and then in the albums that followed, File Under Easy Listening, although not the brilliant Beaster, is best forgotten.

Copper Blue is an album that starts and never lets up.  It's a relentless assault of your senses and can only ever be played loud, any other way and your not doing it justice.  Like the best music that came out of that period the ferociousness belies a simpler melody behind the rage.  Even the thundering opener The Act We Act has a softer side to it, the chorus almost chiming over the dirty riff and brilliant drumming from Malcolm Travis.

It's an album that transcends the grunge scene, there's traditional rock dynamics at work, including guitar solos, but it worked as a bridge for me between the two scenes and cemented my love of bands that could balance the heavy with the light.

The bass and gurgling water that start A Good Idea begin the descent into one of the great lost rock classics of all time.  The song just lives.  The guitar and sneering vocals of Mould pulverising and your ears, honestly if you turned the album up loud for the first track, song two needs it ratchet up to a new level.  The riff is glorious and pounding, an absolute indie dance club classic.  When it segues into Changes, there's almost a sense of relief.  A Good Idea is song everyone who's ever loved a hard rock song should have in their collection.

And it's not like Changes isn't a great song too.  In fact I'd go as far to say that those three openers better Nevermind alone, Copper Blue surges into life and just grows stronger, where as Nirvana's album falters in the second half.

As usual it's tempting to tell you in great detail about every song, If I Can't Change Your Mind probably the best known song here (it charted in the UK) is the softest track, even if Bob Mould still manages to make the acoustic guitar sound angry.  It's a nice break from all the thunder, Fortune Teller that follows just dumps you straight back into the rock and energy.  We get so used to our 'rock' bands having a ballad or three to make the pill easier to swallow, Sugar barely bothered and their album is much better for it.  The one minor slip up is Slick, which just sounds like a bit of an unruly mess, but it's the only dissappointment, although it is a sign post of sorts to that ugly third studio album.

The laugh track and recording of Mould's voice that start the final track herald a great ending.  Man on the Moon is a terrific finish to an album that I hold dear.  The ideas and talent of Mould are fully on show, the guitar playing in places is wonderful.

Copper Blue by Sugar is an album that got voted the best album of 1992 for a reason.  It is one of the best albums ever recorded.  Download it or something.  Go on.

Tonight's post is dedicated to The Boy Cheese.

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