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


Captain Beefheart



4.20 | 107 ratings

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the philosopher
4 stars For a long time I didn't dare to try out this late 70' record, because I was afraid I had to deal with a tamed beast instead of a avant-garde Shiny Beast. The pictures on the inner cover don't show this psychedelic cult band, but of quiet normal people and I thought the music would also be more standardized in comparison with The Trout Mast Replica and Lick my Decals off Babe. Well, it ain't as heavy as the aforementioned records, but it sure is comparable with Safe as Milk and Mirror Man.

The music still deals with a lot of slide guitar, xylophone play, and wind sections. Instead of only blues-rock based avant-garde and some proto-punk we have to deal now also with happy latin-rock (Tropical Hot Dog Night) and some funny ballads (Harry Irene, Lovelies). There are also some instrumentals (Ice Rose). While not all the tracks are necessary inaccessible, this record still has some heavy moments, like the Bat Chain Puller with those irregular rhythms, poly-rhythms and crazy vocal effects.

The 60' avant garde artists like Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa seem to fit quiet easily within the upcoming punk scene. This Shiny Beast did remind me sometimes to the post-punk group The Fall. So the captain made some proto-punk before punk was born and some proto-post-punk before the post-punk scene had arrived. He was always one step earlier! The sound did certainly change some over time, but this is less dramatic then I expected.

The first side of the record is somewhat better then the second side, but both sides are worth listening. This record is recommended for fans of Captain Beefheart's more accessible work and for fans of post-punk and avant-garde. 3,75 stars.

the philosopher | 4/5 |


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