US - Minnesota - Full Moon 188 - 01/09/12
From head to heart
Hüsker Dü's Warehouse
Following our retroscope series of latter years, here we go again! Here's Speakers'
corner's cousin; From head to heart. Luna Kafé's focused eye on great events, fantastic happenings,
absolute milestones, or other curious incidents from the historic shelves'n'vaults of pop'n'rock. Blowing our ears and our head, punching our chest and shaking our heart.
Making us going sentimental, but not slaphappy. This moonth the Lunar spotlight has captured a 25-year-old platter -- the final album by these highly influential noisemakers;
the three pop-punk musketeers from Minneapolis. Dear I say 'treble with a cause' could've been their motto.
Warehouse: Songs and Stories
The lifespan and music of Hüsker Dü could be tagged as:
'live fast, die young'. As much as possible, as fast as possible, in as little time as possible. The band put out 6 albums -- including two double sets! -- from 1983 to 1987, for then to disband. Well, since their first appearance in 1979 they toured intensely, all over the USA, as well as hitting Europe several times (check here). After some years as a high-speed, energetic, three-headed pop-punk-monster, they were offered a major deal by Warner Brothers.
Which was quite amazing, almost hard to believe when thinking of it in retrospect. I mean, a band of their format; wild, fast and sweaty music, wall-to-wall distorted guitars, pounding drums, topped with screamadelic vocals. 'Alternative rock' as it's been filed under.
For sure this signing was a door-opener for bands to come a few years later (first R.E.M. to Warner, then Sonic Youth and Nirvana to Geffen, to name a few). Anyway, signing for a major label didn't tame the noise-pop monster Hüskies over night, or at all. Their major label debut Candy Apple Grey hit the streets in 1986, and only 10 months later they had Warehouse:
Songs and Stories ready! Their 6th studio album, a 2LP set holding 20 songs, became their swansong.
The high speed came to an end. The fuse burnt too fast.
Warehouse: Songs and Stories is, as Candy..., filled with noisy, catchy, punky 'alt rock' pop-songs. Bob Mould and Grant Hart must have kept on writing songs all the spare time during intense touring. Funny thing this time is that all throughout the album a Hart song follows a Mould song follows a Hart song follows a Mould... only with one exception. Mould with 11 songs, Hart with 9, almost all nice and democratic. Or? Of course there was tension on board the (runaway) steam train named Hüsker Dü. As with Candy... (and Flip Your Wig...; their other albums were all credited to Hüsker Dü and Spot - the latter being SST's 'house producer/engineer' Glen Lockett), Bob Mould and Grant Hart produced the album (with Steven Fjelstad being the engineer).
Mould's "These Important Years" opens the album. It's for sure a majestic and signature Mould song, even being a sign for Mould's future career to come. The following Hart song, "Charity, Chastity, Prudence, and Hope", is a likewise signature from Hart's song writing pen. Energetic and pounding. And so it goes. Warehouse... feels like a stalling tennis match between the two. They serve every second ball, but no one seems to win the game. They serve smashing balls in the shape of mainly excellent poppy-punky high energy rock songs, but it's a seemingly endless game.
It feels a bit strange to listen through this record. Here's plenty of ace songs, but the 'album feeling' is lacking. Yes, of course, the record is good, but it's almost like two solo album's been merged. Well, with a little less songs this album would've been much better, stronger. Top songs count the smashing, outstanding "Ice Cold Ice" (Mould), plus "These Important Years" (Mould), "Charity, Chastity, Prudence, and Hope" (Hart), "Visionary" (Mould), "Tell You Why Tomorrow" (Hart), "Turn It Around"
(Mould), "Up in the Air" (Mould) and "You Can Live at Home" (Hart).
While touring the Warehouse... album Hüsker Dü all of a sudden split. They dissolved after a show in Columbia, Missouri in December 1987. To quote Neil Young: 'It's better to burn out than to fade away'. The Hüsker Dü candle burned down and out, but they're not totally forgotten. As the band name translates from Norwegian to
English: Do you remember.
Copyright © 2012 Håvard Oppøyen