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CD Review: Bob Mould – District Line (Beggars Banquet)

Bob Mould - District Line
I can’t say I’ve taken much notice of Bob Mould’s career since Hüsker Dü went their separate ways back in 1987. I never really liked his post-Hüskers band, Sugar, despite the fact that they seemed to enjoy much more success in indie quarters than their hugely influential predecessors, and, because of this, I never felt obliged to dabble in his solo work.

District Line is apparently a move back to the guitar-based indie rock that made his name back in the 80s and early 90s, after a couple of forays into techno territory. To these ears it certainly sounds very familiar. Solid opener “Stupid Now” gets things under way with its quiet verses and full-on rock chorus and by the end, Bob’s voice is cracking up under a blanket of warped effects. Epic break-up ballad “Again And Again” finds Bob on compelling form, backed by a wall of acoustic guitars and a mournful cello; it’s possibly the best thing on the album. Elsewhere, “Return To Dust” and “The Silence Between Us” come closest to replicating the sound and urgency of his pre-solo output and, not surprisingly, they are both superb.

On the downside, “Old Highs, New Lows” is a dull MOR ballad while “Shelter Me” is a plodding techno dirge with lashings of ugly vocoder, an effect that is also in evidence on the excellent “Very Temporary” and the upbeat acoustic pop of “Miniature Parade”, though its use on these songs is much more subtle and it doesn’t detract from them.

The album ends with “Walls In Time”, a song that’s been kicking around trying to find a proper home for 20 odd years, which is about as long ago as I last took an interest in Bob Mould’s work. It’s a meditation on the songwriting process and features more multi-tracked acoustics and more mournful cello. It’s a good end to a very good album and, although it won’t necessarily compel me to delve backwards into the Mould solo discography, I’ll certainly sit up and take notice of what he does next.

Bob Mould – The Silence Between Us

Bob Mould – Very Temporary

Hüsker Dü – New Day Rising

Posted by The Ledge on 11th February 2008 at 5:37 pm | comments (5)
File under bob mould,cd review,CD Reviews,district line,husker du,mp3,Reviews.