Wednesday, July 20, 2005

not quite the last dog and pony show

As you've heard, few things are as eagerly anticipated by the Family Backroads than the latest Harry Potter instalment. One thing that is looked forward to even more though is the latest Bob Mould album.

Despite an official release date of 26th July, somehow my copy made its way over the Atlantic direct from Yeproc arriving yesterday. The deluxe version, with its extra packaging was too tubby to get through the letterbox, resulting in me and Snicket heading off on a dawn raid to the post office this morning to pick it up. Since then it's accompanied me both ways across the Pennines cranked up nice and loud, sunroof open, shades on.

If you've read any other reviews of Body of Song (handily referenced within Bob's blog entries over recent days), you'll pick up that the record is something of a return to form. This is true, but in a way that does a disservice to his more experimental work on Modulate, as Loudbomb and as half of the Blowoff dj team which has entertained DC's shirtless masses since he walked away from the full-on live band experience of the Last Dog and Pony Show.

In Body of Song, Bob has created a record which draws upon his solo, Sugar and Husker Du years but, actually, couldn't really have been made any time other than the present. It's more up than down for a change... in the past his cup has often been more half empty than half full, and this brighter sound lifts not only the dance influenced cluster of tracks but also the more traditional four on the floor rock tracks.

He's brought together a weighty but varied group of colleagues to work across the project including Sugar's David Barbe, Fugazi's Brandan Canty and Bob's Blowoff buddy Richard Morel. Some of these are likely to make it into the crew Bob's using to tour the record later this year and who'll be in the UK playing the Mean Fiddler on September 6th. Based on the strength in depth offered by Body of Song plus Bob's plan to air tunes from across his career including, for the first time since their split, Husker Du tunes in a band context, the autumn shows should be well worth dropping by.

Last time Bob was in the UK (along with the Flaming Lips) he was plugging Modulate and had lashed himself to the strict tempo of a pre-recorded DVD soundtrack (plus Carry on Camping visuals). This delivered an intense but unnervingly consistent show each night. By reintroducing the dynamics of a live band to his sound whilst incorporating the more electronic influences of recent years, Mould looks set to reinvent himself in the live environment in the same way that Body of Song reinvents his sound on record. Sound of the summer.