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First Listen : William Tyler - Sunken Garden

First Listen is the part of Musos' Guide where we tempt you in with lesser played tracks from the recent past or this very minute. Enjoy.


The album Modern Country is available from amazon & iTunes.


Bob Mould - Patch The Sky

  • Published in Albums


Bob Mould is having something of a mid-life renaissance. He played and sang on Foo Fighters' ‘Dear Rosemary’ from their fantastic Wasting Light album and released a book of memoirs, ‘See A Little Light : The Trail Of Rage And Melody’. 2014’s Beauty And Ruin album went in high in the US Billboard charts and was the first record of his to enter the UK charts in nearly 20 years.

Patch The Sky is the sound of a man who is comfortable in his own skin. Thankfully for us that musical comfort zone is at the front of a power trio. After his experimentation with solo acoustic work and electronica this is the Bob Mould we know and love from Husker Du and Sugar but a little older, wiser, and more reflective.

It may not be able to match the speed and aggression of Land Speed Record or Everything Falls Apart but is indubitably the work of the man who wrote Warehouse: Songs And Stories and Copper Blue. Mould’s work with Sugar sounded like a natural progression from Husker Du, but with much, much better production and Patch The Sky sounds like the third Sugar album that we never got.

The voice is instantly familiar but, more than that, the wall of guitars with their open chords and dense harmonies are front and centre. Bassist Jason Narducy and Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster return and you can feel Mould’s liberation in having a steady band around him for the first time in years.

On Beauty And Ruin the 12 songs were split into groups of three whereas this is definitely an album of two halves. There is even a little 'Please Turn Over’ sting after ‘Pray For Rain'. The first half of the album is pure Sugar. For the first couple of songs you are just marvelling at the familiarity of the vocal tics and rhythms semi-submerged under layers of distorted guitars. The album really comes to life then. 'Hold On' builds to a stadium rock chorus, a sudden sideswipe knocking you out of your comfortable groove of expectation, and ‘Losing Sleep' is an understated toe-tapper.

Side Two starts to get interesting as Mould breaks from formula. ‘Daddy's Favourite’ has a big stomping glam rock riff in the mould of T-Rex and Mud while ‘Hands Are Tied’ harks back to his hardcore days, and wouldn't sound out of place on Flip Your Wig. ‘Black Confetti’ is based around an atypical vocal rhythm from Mould and an almost funky guitar line before giving way to some heavier riffing in the B-section. Album closer ‘Monument’ is a slower, more contemplative affair with Robert Smith guitar lines, splashy cymbals and a shoegaze vibe.

While this is nowhere near his best album it shows that there is life in the old bear yet and it really gets better with every listen. It’s questionable whether Mould will win over any new fans with this album but, like Paul Weller’s recent output, he may just win back the attention of former fans who have forgotten him.

If you don’t know Mould’s oeuvre then Patch The Sky is not the place to start, try Sugar’s Copper Blue for an easy access point. But if you are, or were, a fan of his earlier work then this is well worth adding to your collection.

Patch The Sky is available from amazon & iTunes.

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