Bob Mould first came to the world’s attention fronting seminal alt-rock legends Hüsker Dü in the late-‘70s and ‘80s, but in the early-‘90s he spent a few years at the helm of power trio Sugar – whose ’92 debut Copper Blue is a recognised classic, and whose entire catalogue has been recently reissued – and it’s this powerful-but-immediate realm to which he returns for his tenth solo album, Silver Age.
Back playing with guitars after some years spent dabbling in electronica, Mould has recruited Superchunk skinsman John Wurster and bassist Jason Narducy to provide the rhythm foundation over which he unleashes some of his most propulsive tunes in the last two decades. Opener Star Machine is like a statement of intent from a usurped leader out to reclaim his rightful position, all power chords and thick riffing and that unmistakable voice once again stretching out. Mould doles out melody and hooks with trademark ease, songs like single The Descent and Fugue State visceral and immediate in equal doses. Steam Of Hercules brings things down a couple of notches to show that he deals equally well in restraint, but for the most part this is an album of unabashed pomp and power from a man who basically wrote the rulebook on such matters. When Mould sneers, “Never too old to contain my rage” during the crushing title track he sounds like he means business, and provides an apt reminder that it’s amazing for someone of his vintage to be still showing the youngsters how it should be done.
A smashing return to form from one of the most influential musicians ever to strap on a Strat – long live king Bob!
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