I feel as though I should begin this review with a disclaimer: I believe Bob Mould to be a true master of his craft. From his days with the groundbreaking group Husker Du to his time piloting the power pop band Sugar, Mould has made few musical missteps (I choose to forget the mess that was his electronic music phase). His latest album, Silver Age, is an ode to the genre he helped create, a flawless mix of Husker Du noise/aggression and Sugar’s bouncy goodness.
Some of the music literati have said that Silver Age is the return of Mould to the world of musical relevance. I say it is just an excellent album that proves that he’s never gone away or gotten rusty with age. Listen to several bands over the years, most notably Foo Fighters, and you will hear Bob’s omnipresence. For the past thirty years he has blended aggression with melody, volume with deep thought and beautiful songwriting. Silver Age is certainly no exception.
The lead track “Star Machine” is a true Bob Mould composition. It drips with gnashed teeth and the chunky chords his music has become known for. “Fugue State” is a straight up, stomping power pop fest that is reminiscent of both his Husker Du and Sugar days. Fans will instantly recognize that it is indeed Bob at his finest.
While these tunes are full-throttle guitar screams, “Steam of Hercules” is slowed down, but by no stretch has less power. The force of discontent churns and bubbles just below the surface as percussionist Jon Wurster punishes his drum kit within an inch of its life.
Silver Age is an angry, stubborn, yet accessible record. Its brilliance only confirms to the world what Mould fans have known for years: Mould is a king among musicians. He is a pied piper for any band that wants to be heavy and angst ridden but still pen moving, powerful lyrics as a way to connect with their audiences, to show that it is indeed possible to rock and still have something important to say.
No, Silver Age is not the return of Mould. How can one return if they were never gone? Silver Age is merely another chunk of quality music from a musician that has spent the better part of three decades telling the world how he felt and doing it at top volume. In “The Descent” he sings, “I didn’t want to play the songs/that gave people so much hope”.
Too late, Mr. Mould, too late.
Standout tracks: “The Descent” (listen to it here), “Still Believing”
09/18/12 – Seattle, WA – Showbox
09/19/12 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
09/21/12 – San Francisco, CA – Fillmore
09/23/12 – Pensacola Beach, FL @ DeLuna Fest
10/30/12 – Los Angeles, CA – El Rey
11/02/12 – Austin, TX – Fun Fun Fun Fest (BOB MOULD PLAYS COPPER BLUE)