I’ve spun this thing so many times. There’s something deeply poetic about these songs, their sequence. The whole is a sum of the parts, and these parts are strong.
Back in 90, Watt surprised everyone I knew by signing to Columbia. SST had been going so strong for so long, it was hard to swallow an end to SST glory days, but Sonic Youth, Meat Puppets, everyone SST was seeking greener pastures. f had released 2 killers back to back (Ragin + If’n), but fROMOHIO was weak to these ears. Felt slapped together. This was a return to form, a 2×4 to the head.
I always heard this album in 3 acts. Listen along and see if you hear it too:
Act I: Rock tunes: Down w/the bass, Up Finnegan’s Ladder, Can’t Believe, including the singles. Is this classic A&R ‘start with the hits up front’ thinkin? Good tunes, then the mood swings.
Act II: Road tunes. If act one is getting out of bed and hitting the coffee, act two is hitting the road, crystallizing beautifully in ‘Too long’.
Act III: Angular tunes: the last third is more Minutemen to my ears than anything they’d done at that point, ‘cept bits of Ragin. Maybe it’s just the energy in Ed we hadn’t heard before. In my sequence, I cap Act 2 with Toolin, making Act 3 hold together a little more, but that’s just me.
This one rules.