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Captain Beefheart - Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) CD (album) cover


Captain Beefheart



4.19 | 107 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Captain Beefheart put together a brand new Magic Band and made a fantastic comeback with this album (issued in place of the original Bat Chain Puller, which still gathers dust in the Zappa family vaults...). Getting a new set of younger backing musicians seems to have worked out for the Captain - with sidemen who clearly loved his older material and were more than happy to follow his lead, he is able to bring his musical vision to life with a vividness not seen since Lick My Decals Off Baby.

The new backing group show off their impressive chops on instrumental numbers such as Suction Prints, whilst the Captain himself is having more fun than he's had for years with this material - from the opening number (The Floppy Boot Stomp) in the Captain's unique avant- garde style to the closing spoken word piece Apes-Ma, he sounds happier and more energetic than on any album since Safe as Milk. Particularly worthy of note here are songs such as Tropical Hot Dog Night and Harry Irene, two songs which couple the Captain's vocals to commercial musical styles (calypso and easy listening ballad) with far greater success than the botched experiments in the same vein on the two preceding albums, mainly because the Captain's personality is in full flow on both songs and the band add their own subtle twists to the material.

Going from two one-star wrecks in a row to this is an incredible turnaround for any artist, particularly one who had always struggled to attain commercial success like Beefheart. Thankfully, the Captain gave us three great albums before he retired from music, and this first episode of his final trilogy is quintessential Beefheart. Five stars.

Warthur | 5/5 |


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