Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) album cover
Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)

Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band

Warner Bros. Records

After two albums where all the necessary sharp edges were sanded from Beefheart’s songs, and a near decision to quit music, Don Van Vliet got his shit back together, formed a group that paid more than lip service to the Magic Band of yore, and recorded Bat Chain Puller. Then it wasn’t released. The album that eventuated, Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller), included re-recordings of six songs from that original Bat Chain Puller set, and newly written material. It’s taut, stringy, gnarled, full of guitars that gnaw away at each other, rhythms that invert time, and that unmistakable Beefheart growl, here populating several selves, tussling with each other across gems like “Floppy Boot Stomp.” Beefheart was back – and things were as confusing as ever.

Jon Dale

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