Bob Mould

Music Reviews
Bob Mould
May 26, 2008, 19:29

Bob Mould - District Line

BOB MOULD District Line CD

Genre-dabbler Bob Mould greets the usually impressive label Anti- with his follow up to 2005's fair-to-mid Body of Song (Yep Roc) with a less-electronica-fused District Line. The resounding question is, “Which Mould are we gonna hear this time?” Well, it is a Mould that wouldn't be out of place on a teen drama soundtrack or a Best Of the Nineties collection.

The days of being a boundary-pusher are long gone, as are the fury and sneer of Hüsker Dü (Sugar, his nineties project, was forgettable and more damning than reputation-building). What is left is the skeleton of a hero fallen, or simply placed into another demographic—namely the aged punk rocker that likes it a little more listenable now. Opener, “Stupid Now,” begs, “Please listen to me/And don't disagree,” a request that isn't too hard to fulfill as a guitar plucks with a morose cello holding everything up. All of a sudden, though, the chorus opens up and a sense of wonder, or loss, can be felt with a collective sigh from all the Husker fans. “Maybe a one-off song? Bob has more backbone than this…”

Unfortunately the road just gets rainier and more unknown. To get lost in this album is entirely possible, but differently than with a remarkable collection; the unknown surroundings are surprising but unwelcome. This is a foreign place because it is a place no one wanted to go. No map, no atlas, just a long walk back to civilization muttering, “What the hell? How did we come to this point?”

Through the songs, namely “Again and Again,” Shelter Me” (another well-known, questionable attempt at electronic pop), and “Miniature Parade,” a sense of “given up” is evident in the lack of spirit, focus, and sustainability. Closer, “Walls in Time,” offers the only sense of artistry and ability. An acoustic guitar and the aforementioned cello meld together nicely as a vehicle for his scratchy, soft voice. What should've been the cherry on top merely just makes one miss the old Mould even more.

This isn't the same man that made his name what it is. Over the years a need for self-discovery has forced him to try things that are poison to his former punch and relevance. There is a Bob Mould out there somewhere, but who knows if we are ever to see him again. [Anti-]

-Luc Rodgers


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