File Under Easy Listening (Deluxe Edition)
Demon Music Group
When Husker Du fell apart at the seams Bob Mould – just one half of that band’s songwriting magic – released two very good solo albums. And then it was straight into Sugar, a power-trio that sat somewhere in the middle of R.E.M. and Nirvana.
Mould’s gift for immediacy in a song never gets distracted by the buzz of the riff – and his hard-working ethic saw three albums in three years. You could argue that File Under: Easy Listening, the band’s swansong – wasn’t quite up there with Beaster and Copper Blue. But still this album has so much to offer. Originally released in 1994 here it is represented as a double disc with accompanying DVD.
The original 10-track album is added to with the six B-sides, the second disc features an 18-track live concert from November, 1994, titled The Joke Is Always On Us, Sometimes and the DVD collects promo videos for Your Favourite Thing, Believe What You’re Saying and Gee Angel. There are MTV appearances too and a special pairing of Mould with Lou Barlow from the show 120 Minutes.
But back to the album, perfect indie-pop that still beguiles, Panama City Motel and Can’t Help You Anymore slowed down from Husker’s fury to suggest that in an alternative (pardon the pun) universe Sugar would have been hit-makers.
Maybe a gay man who would go on to write storylines for pro-wrestling just wasn’t the hero that allegedly alienated teens needed. That’s our win – because Sugar’s music, hiding in-between everything Bob Mould did with Husker Du and everything he did after, is ours to celebrate and rediscover.
And this reissue also celebrates whatever is left of the CD-era; a great package with fresh interviews from all of the main players detailing the highs and lows of a brief career, the making of this album, its complete crapping and re-recording.
Perhaps in the perfect career of Sugar the only real bum-note is that the band, indirectly, is to blame for 15 years and counting of Foo Fighters.