Format: CD
Label: Granary Music
Catalog: 2021
Rel. Date: 03/12/2002
UPC: 698519202123

Artist: Bob Mould
Format: CD
Used: Available

Formats and Editions


1. 180 Rain
2. Sunset Safety Glass
3. Semper Fi
4. Homecoming Parade
5. Lost Zoloft
6. Without?
7. Slay/Sway
8. Receipt, The
9. Quasar
10. Soundonsound
11. Hornery
12. Comeonstrong
13. Trade
14. Author's Lament


After 22 years of some of the most explosive guitar-charged rock the planethas ever known, Mould retreated after 1998’s The Last Dog and Pony Show,taking a well-earned, protracted leave. But with all that time to think andconsider his art for the first time, Modulate unfurls a man substantially shakingup a successful approach. Though one doubts that the veteran Mould is much ofa Radiohead fan, Modulate is sort of like his Kid A—only 16 studioLPs into his career instead of four, and with a pittance of public scrutiny.Catching his long ’n’ loyal admirers in a shock ambush, the ex-H"uskerD"u and Sugar star hereby banishes his guitars on the first half, or relegatesthem so far from the fore, only his sepulchral voice makes you sure you gotthe right CD in your jewel case. Mould goes electronic? Bleep, boop, bleat,blurp, and blare?

But unlike Radiohead, whose aforementioned LP felt so detached, Mould hasn’taltered his bared-emotions-and-hooks songwriting prowess at all, he’s justaltered the sonics he delivers them in, embracing the repetitive-hypnotic rudimentsof looped keyboard/machine parts instead of reverberating guitars. And whenhe finally relents and invites his old friend, the crunching six-string, backon the second half, it proves the old dog can be as mean as ever. Two songs,the unnerving “Slay/Sway,” and the standout “Comeonstrong”are patented unruly Mould rollercoasters, and “SoundonSound” makesits brawny melodic elements stand up and salute harder than the electro-grindfirst half.

Perhaps Mould could have met his back catalog half way—in the way thatbands such as TSOL, MIA, Toxic Reasons, Effigies, Stranglers, Killing Joke,Wire, and The Damned did on departure LPs. And you’re left wondering whatthese songs would have sounded like had he merely made a bold refinement, orstuck closer to his established style. But that feeling of being challengedis rather delicious after a while. It’s a new Bob, but it’s as involvingas ever.
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