It’s all gone a bit Bob Mould bonkers this last month what with the post Husker Du reissues and Box set bonanza and this here new album. Solo album number fourteen if I’m not mistaken has seen him go from the darkness of ‘Black Sheets Of Rain’ to his last offering ‘Sunshine Rock’ covering just about everything in between the polar opposites.
‘Blue Hearts’ see that sunshine hidden behind some pretty dark clouds from the crackle of the opening acoustic Mould certainly does wear his heart on his sleeve as he pulls no punches. Government, Climate change its a sad portrait he paints but one that can’t be denied or refuted. From there on the guitars are turned up to eleven and the ‘Next Generation’ crashes in.
Sure it’s familiar territory but I kinda like it when Bob Mould is raging against the machine. Like being hit on the temple by a wrecking ball, Mould gives his guitar one hell of a seeing to as he doesn’t go gently into the night. But wait it gets darker, ‘American Crisis’ is as angry as I can remember him Husker Du and Sugar included. Regan Bush and now Trump there seems to be an ever lasting conveyor belt of shit rolling through the white house doors and Sub two and a half minutes punk rock with a dark melodic chorus is the only thing that can save us. It’s crushing. Pausing momentarily in the middle for breath (Not).
Fourteen songs mean its not anywhere near prog lengths for each number as one crashes into the other like a stormy sea its wave after wave as your senses get pummeled with each track devouring the last but there is respite with acoustic guitars being abused on ‘Forcast Of Rain’ even with its church organ sarcastically filing ever corner of darkness with more darkness its bleak and depressing but it isn’t if you know what I mean.
I don’t know if I should admit to being pleased that Mould is pissed off or disappointed with the wider world because it brings out the beast in his songwriting and this has been the case here. He voices his disappointment at the state of the US at religion at the fact that man in the western world doesn’t seem to learn from its mistakes and as he roars “never thought I’d see this bullshit again” yet here he is. It’s fair to say Trump won’t ever see Mould wearing one of his trucker caps nor waving a patriotic flag at a rally any day soon.
‘When You Left’ sounds like a one-take number as Bob tries to break his voice it does mellow (did I just say mellow) I mean ease up a little on the next couple of tracks maybe Bob thought we needed to catch out breath and he’d be right.
I bet Bob’s guitar amps all go to eleven, it sounds like they do and it must be exhilarating to listen to the playback in a good studio as he wrestles to control the feedback on ‘Baby Needs A Cookie’.
The fact that this came out the same day Idles released their new album I think it’s safe to say that alternative guitar music is in safe hands. Men who give a shit are standing on a mountain raging against the pricks and I like it.
It might be brand new but I already love it. Don’t ask me in a month I love it here and now and it’s just what I need to hear every time I turn on the news I’m disappointed and I find myself shouting at the interviewers to hold the politician’s feet a little closer to the fire and I wish one day the powers that be will tell the truth or be a little honest or humble but until then I’m getting behind people like Bob Mould because they can turn that rage into something quite beautiful. ‘Blue Hearts’ is Bob Mould doing what he excels at just at the right time. Anger is an energy and energy is something Bob Mould has in spades – come to think of it anger is something he’s pretty bloody good at as well – Exquisite record.
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Author: Dom Daley