Bob Mould

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 February, 2008, 12:00am

Bob Mould

District Line

(Anti-)

As Bob Mould cranks into the opening track, Stupid Now, the immediate temptation is to think the former Husker Du and Sugar frontman is returning to his roots.

'Please listen to me,' he pleads and it's almost like the years have never passed.

But to mark District Line as an effort from Mould to capture past glories would be to sell the project short. It expands on almost everything that has taken Mould's fancy over the past two decades - from raw acoustic melodies to disco-driven grooves. The end result is sometimes stunning, and perhaps the American's most fully realised work since 1989's wonderful Workbook.

Again and Again allows Mould's gruff voice to wallow over simple guitar and piano, revealing his knack for exposing pure emotion, tinged with sorrowful regret.

It's one of many standouts, as is the electronically motored Shelter Me, a piece that echoes Mould's work towards the end of his days with Sugar and has its feet set firmly on the dance floor. Looping his voice through computers, Mould comes up with a sound that tips its hat to the likes of Daft Punk but with a distinctly harder edge.

Driving the rhythm is former Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty and he helps no end in lifting the tempo exactly when it's needed. Hence the cacophony of Return to Dust, which harks back to Husker Du at their finest, with Mould wailing away.

Mould remains one of those ageing artists who refuses to be pigeon-holed as he pushes the boundaries of his musical journey. He's picked up bits and pieces over the past 25 years and has finally made them fit into his own style.

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