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Bob Mould
Patch The Sky
Merge Records

Bob Mould's latest album has grabbed me in a most visceral way. I don't think I've listened to an album by him straight through over and over nonstop since Hüsker Dü broke up, except maybe Sugar's Beaster EP. It has a weakish moment or two, but overall it's just mind-blowing. His guitar tone is incredible good on this record and the accompanying, not-quite buried vocals are incredible too. A remarkable achievement by the now aging rock star. Many had almost given up on Bob Mould after years of more or less mediocre releases, well it's time to really start listening to him again.

This is his eleventh solo album and it's one of his all time best. Which is an achievement alone given some of the alt-rock pioneer's catalogue is being awed publicly by fellow famous musicians like Ryan Adams and Dave Grohl. Mould have here his usual line up with Jason Narducy (Verbow, Split Single) playing bass for him since 2005, and Jon Wurster (The Mountain Goats, Superchunk) on drums since 2008. It's probably become the best line-up Mould ever has played with and they mesh up so beautifully when they play live.

The album starts with the a very short electronic intro before the guitars and full band enters in the opening tune "Voices In My Head", which must be Bob Mould's nod to the listener: 'If you decide to listen to the voices in my head, then you'll know it's an album by an introvert. And if you thought the guitars on the opener was great, song two, "The End Of Things", with its wall of deep lo-fi guitars in a whirlwind rock-riff, really makes you lean forwards towards the speakers. And then the super beat just goes on in song three; a shining pearl called "Hold On", which makes you wanting to sing along as well. And I am thinking; have they become one of the best bands that are around? The vocoder is gone and Mould only sings the annoying 'do do dah dah' on one song only, but thankfully not for too long. That's the only thing on this album that I can point my finger on really: ten seconds of 'doh doh dah dah'.

While the first side's lyrics are modestly depressing although ending with the most positive down song by Mould ever; "Pray For Rain" where he sings that 'We could use a storm or two every day', the second side is darker and more about personal demons. Eventhough, it's done with the musical punk rock lightness and devotion for heavy darkness in the sound that Mould and his band have moulded together to perfection since this recordings with Life And Times, then Beauty & Ruin, and now Patch The Sky started. It all comes clear; the three records belong together. But this is by far the best one.

Patch The Sky was recorded at Steve Albini's Electrical Audio in Chicago, in the spacious A Room which is a wood and dark adobe brick room. The backline was set up just as they do on stage, and everything was miked up. When it was time to record, they had a whole other room for the guitar cabinets, and a second drum kit and another bass rig set up in the isolation room, to get a real deep sound in that floating brick room which has the suspended floor. They'd learn in Room A as if they were rehearsing and then they'd move, but still be able to see each other. This might explain the great live feeling you get when listening to Patch The Sky. It's kind of sad to say, but a suffering and depressed Bob Mould produces some fantastic songs. And the reward of suffering is experience, and I've experienced Patch The Sky, and will continue to do so.

For all info on Bob Mould and all that's related to him, visit Hüsker Dü fan Paul Hilcoff's site.

Copyright © 2016 Ole Bernt Krogstad e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Bob Mould articles/reviews: Beauty & Ruin, Last Dog and Pony Show.

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