Bob Mould – Silver Age

Bob Mould
Silver Age
Merge
★★★★★★★★☆☆

Alterna-rock statesman hot from bringing a little 90′s Sugar to the 10′s masses returns with shit-hot album. If that’s all the convincing you need, you might as well stop reading now and give the man your money. But if you need a little more, here goes…

Given that Mould has spent the early part of 2012 in Sugar-mode, it’s no surprise for Silver Age to be the point of connection between the past and the present. “I’d been batting around the idea of another aggressive pop record for some time,” Bob says, “especially as the 20th anniversary of Copper Blue kept getting closer”. For fans of the old Mould, this is your god talking true.

With the sonic bitch slap of “Star Machine” bursting into view, all doubts disappear, all subtleties levelled by the crunch of power chords and an energized Mould shouting out some 20th century wisdom — “You told the world you had to fire the band/Your little world has gotten out of hand/The star machine will hand your ass right back to you”. Is it any surprise to see Mould so forcibly on the front foot, sounding like an impassioned man half his age and twice the rage? (cf. the title track).

As served up on “The Descent” (a song as good as any he’s written in the last 20 years) — “I didn’t want to play the song/That gave people so much hope/I turned my back and turned away/Here’s the rope that made me choke”, Mould in (seemingly, yet fresh from the task) autobiographical mode is moved to show those glory days ain’t all that, baby. From the handful of starting tracks alone it’s made abundantly clear that the thought of slipping into the Sugar shoes had filled his lyrical larder with so much material that this album was starting to write itself.

10 songs, 38 minutes and only the tightest of pauses between breathes as Silver Age sprints from one song to the next. Had Mould released this in the place of Sugar’s disappointing follow-up to Copper Blue, File Under Easy Listening, they may well still be going today (No, not really. Grunge, like milk, had an expiration date clearly written on the package). Still, those old enough to know what it felt like to be encased in a flannel moshpit will enjoy the same exhilaration that Silver Age hands out like flyers to the next under-age show.