If Girlfriend was Star Wars, then Altered Beast is The Empire Strikes Back. Following the artistic breakthrough of Girlfriend, Matthew Sweet returns with a little more grit and a lot less glamour. This record again features impeccable guitar work from Television’s Richard Lloyd and ex-Voidoid Robert Quine. Quine shines on the intro to “Dinosaur Act”, his guitar squawking and gorwling like the track’s namesake. “In Too Deep” is one of the harder tracks here, suitable for Lloyd’s angular riffage. Also featured are drummers Mick Fleetwood and Jody Stevens (Big Star). This record exhibits a newfound eclecticism in its sound, edging closer to R.E.M. than the Byrds. “Devil With the Green Eyes” is most emblematic of this, jangle guitar and claustrophobic midrange with a monotone Stipe-esque vocal line. “I don't like knowing people. I don't like people knowing about me” Sweet sings on “Knowing People”, a withdrawn and (relatively) minimalist rocker that neatly encapsulates his state of mind. This record was originally issued with several different colored covers, this reissue features blue cover art. (Make sure to note the parody of the Yamato Transport logo.) Pressed on 180g transparent blue vinyl, this edition is limited to 1000 copies.
- 180g transparent blue vinyl pressing
- glossy blue jacket and printed insert
- limited to 1000 copies, first edition of this pressing
- music label: Music On Vinyl 2019
reviewed by MEGA DRIVE 05/2019