Candy Apple Grey came out in 1986 and it opens with a noisy, jarring track Crystal… well noisy because of Bob Mould’s crazily roared vocals. This track is not typical of the rest of album. Grant Hart is in fine songwriting form, with two perfect power pop songs, the driving Don’t Wanna Know If You Are Lonely and the very Elvis Costello sounding Sorry Somehow (think it’s the combination of Hart’s vocals and the organ in the background). What’s great about these songs is that they are catchy without being annoying, and Mould plays a fine guitar on both. Later Dead Set on Destruction possesses the irreverent snarl of the Ramones’ Chinese Rocks.
They indulge in some sensitivity with Mould’s somewhat overwrought acoustic ballad Too Far Down and Hart’s dodgy piano ballad No Promise Have I Made. But Mould’s repetitive yet great Hardly Getting Over It is a Westerberg/Replacements slice of wistful genius, a yearning tune over ringing guitars.
Thankfully the second half of the album has a pair of fine rockers in Eiffel Tower High and All This I’ve Done For You (this one especially welcome after No Promise Have I Made).