Matt Sweet is one of them hit/miss kind of guys, not nearly as consistent as his bros in Teenage Fanclub. That said, the underrated Altered Beast slays its predecessor, the highly revered Girlfriend. The latter has the power-pop hooks, but A.B. has them and the country-rock melancholy of Neil Young and Gene Clark. The album's overall vibe is borderline morose, summed up perfectly in the tune "Time Capsule" -- "We were young and strong/ Now everything is wrong."