Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Album Review: Bob Mould – Workbook


Never got into Husker Du, but I greatly enjoyed Bob Mould’s Copper Blue album recorded with Sugar, so decided to check out his solo work. His first solo album, released in 1989, is fairly removed from Husker Du or Sugar, with a lot more acoustic-based tracks. That’s not to say Bob Mould is sitting back, there is plenty of intensity throughout this album.

It kicks off with a Durutti Column style instrumental, Sunspots, featuring plenty of intricate guitar work. Wishing Well is an hard rocking acoustic track, full of angst and vitriol. What sets it apart however is great use of cello, and a blistering electric guitar. A ringing, elegiac electric guitar motif opens Heartbreak A Stranger, which goes right through the track, without making it repetitive. It’s like the moodier side of grunge, before grunge went mainstream. It makes some impression, when you listen to this one a few times, you’ll feel like it’s been part of your life for years.

See A Little Light is a deceptively simple sounding melody, reminding me of those Lemonheads anthemic chord progressions that are so satisfying to play. Poison Years on the other hand is a darker, brooding track with lyrical nuggets such as “the more I think, the less I’ve got to say” which builds into some fiery guitar work before the track’s conclusion.

Sinners and their Repentances pleads like nothing else this side of Mark Eitzel. Later in the album, Lonely Afternoon is a very palatable acoustic rocker and Dreaming, I Am showcases pure passion from Bob Mould over almost Johnny Marr-like guitars. He totally loses it in Whichever Way The Wind Blows, screaming blue murder over a monumental wall of powerful, distorted guitars.

Wish I’d come across this one years ago as these songs sound absolutely timeless. I’m officially claiming this as a great lost classic.