Beauty Pill, 'Such Large Portions!'
College radio lives in its own world. When I was a music director at WUOG in Athens, Ga., we paid attention to and sent in charts, kept up with blogs and read magazines, but for the most part we made our own proclamations about what music we'd play. Beauty Pill's The Unsustainable Lifestyle hit heavy rotation in 2004 and didn't really leave our airwaves. To our DJs, Beauty Pill was on to something fiercely, intricately unique: punkish indie-rock invested in unconventional hooks, slanted electronics and Brian Eno-level production.
So imagine my shock when, years later, I discovered not everyone felt the same way. The Unsustainable Lifestyle was panned by high-level publications; primary songwriter Chad Clark says people told him the album "was a mistake." He wouldn't release another until 2015's remarkable Describes Things As They Are.
Blue Period — which collects The Unsustainable Lifestyle, the You Are Right to Be Afraid EP and unreleased outtakes and demos — feels like justice for Beauty Pill. "Such Large Portions!" appeared on that debut album and was, by far, WUOG's most played song for months. It's not hard to hear why: Nothing's obvious, yet every sound sticks out. That whammy-bar riff — reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine, minus the noise — presaged the pedal-board revival by a good decade. Bouncing off a wash of aqueous dub, the drumming stutters and breathes in the verses. In a bossa nova sotto voce, Rachel Burke smirks as she sings Clark's darkly funny turns of phrase ("The food is poison here, you can't eat it / But in such large portions!"). A light touch of Fender Rhodes adds some electric Miles cool. Nothing sounded like it then, or since.
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