Matthew Sweet – Altered Beast

ARTIST: Matthew Sweet 220px-MSweet_Altered
TITLE: Altered Beast
YEAR RELEASED: 1993
CHART ACTION: #75
SINGLES: The Ugly Truth (#35 Mainstream, #3 Modern Rock)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Time Capsule was also a video
LINEUP: Matthew Sweet, Richard Lloyd, Robert Quine, Ivan Julian, Ric Menck, Fred Maher, Greg Leisz and some famous folks contributing drums and keys
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Follow-up record to his sensational album is darker, moodier, but has a lot of great moments that shine through if you let them.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Even though Girlfriend was recorded after somewhat trying circumstances, it still was a refreshing, mostly update record. Altered Beast feels like the darker hangover after the euphoria.

“Someone to Pull the Trigger”, “Devil with the Green Eyes”, “Ugly Truth” and others on the surface seem like downers – angry and / or sad. But there’s still the harmonies, the radiant guitar playing by Lloyd, Quine and Julian, and great, tuneful songwriting.

It took a while to really get this – some of the bleakness is hard to listen to. After a couple, three listens though, you get it and what Sweet was trying to do and say.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The clip in front of “Ugly Truth Rock” midway through is from Caligula – probably the best thing about that movie. (Don’t watch it unless you KNOW what’s going to happen…)

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No, he released a companion EP later that I’ll review next when he comes up. But…the CD had five different colors of cover if you’re into that. My CD had the purple one!

GRADE: A-: It’s sometimes hard to listen to and digest in one setting but there’s a lot of shining moments if you give it a chance.

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