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Bob Mould
Body Of Song
Yep Roc Records

I am continuously filled with wonder at the depth and beauty that Bob Mould still manages to wring from his insides at each turn of his career. Despite the fact that Mould's last release, Modulate, went quietly by the wayside to all but the most dedicated of fans, he has continued to do exactly what he must do - create beautiful and perfect rock music. Body Of Song is filled with tracks that easily could have sprung from other times in his varied career, with songs that would fit right at home on say, Workbook, or on any of the Sugar releases. This record feels complete, an exercise in Mould allowing who he is to come straight out, instead of tying himself into the self-exploration that many of his recordings make me believe of him. The sound on Body Of Song is completely natural, seeming to flow easily and perfectly from the soul of one of my generation's finest songwriters. The album features appearances from many players that have played on Mould's recordings before, including David Barbe from Sugar, Brendan Canty from Fugazi, and Matt Hammon from the '98 Bob Mould Band.

The music is where the meat of Bob Mould has always lain, and Body Of Song is certainly no exception. The album kicks off with the clean organ tones and classic vocal melody/thick guitar sound of "Circles". From the first thirty seconds of the record, one already realizes just how much of a treat their ears are in for with this new collection of songs. "(Shine Your) Light Love Hope" takes a few minor cues from the more electronic sound of the Loud Bomb record, and combines a danceable (semi-disco) beat with some vogue pitch correction and enlightening lyrics. The sound is a bit experimental for Mould, and makes a neat pair with the sonic majesty of "I Am Vision, I Am Sound". The slow-down acoustic beauty of "Days Of Rain" is a fast reminder of the delicate warmth that Mould is capable of producing at times. "Best Thing" and "Missing You" are tracks that could easily have jumped from a Sugar record, having not only the same sonic characteristics (thick guitars, brilliant drumming, and up-front vocals) but also maintaining the same cheeky language that sprung forth from Mould's head in those years. "High Fidelity" slows things down a bit, and re-defines the self-exploration of motives and loves that Mould has always had a high penchant for. Introspection and tenderness move to the forefront, perfectly mirrored in the actual sound of the song. The acoustic 12-string finally makes its appearance on "Gauze Of Friendship", a song that tells a tangled web of a story of betrayal and love and pasts. The album wraps up with the sonic cacophony of "Beating Heart The Prize", a dense wall of sound that stands in stark contrast to the stark and hollow beauty of "Gauze Of Friendship".

The best news, other than a great new record from Bob Mould, is that he will be taking a full band out later in the year to support the record's release and to play song's from his entire career, including Sugar, Husker Du, and solo material. This is a welcome piece of news for those of us that were convinced by his earlier promise to never again take a full backing band on tour, due to his exhaustion with the process. I love seeing Bob play solo live, but it will be awesome to see him full-on rock it at least once more.

-Embo Blake

Track Listing:
1. Circles
2. (Shine Your) Light Love Hope
3. Paralyzed
4. I Am Vision, I Am Sound
5. Underneath Days
6. Always Tomorrow
7. Days Of Rain
8. Best Thing
9. High Fidelity
10. Missing You
11. Gauze Of Friendship
12. Beating Heart The Prize

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