Bob Mould

For the past 10 years, Bob Mould has been busy battling tinnitus, paying the bills by writing TV scripts for professional wrestling (!), and indulging a newfound passion for club music. With Body of Song, he returns from the wilderness to hard, passionate pop-rock -- though he's blissfully indifferent to acceptable rock etiquette. Specifically, on three tracks of his eccentric new album, Mould carbonates his uniquely resonant voice with a variation of that effect Cher used on "Believe." No joke. At first, it's about as off-putting to an old Hüsker Dü fan as if the innovator of lilting punk were to try rapping. Then, like most Mould albums, Body of Song -- electronic streak and all -- starts nibbling at your ear. By the time it's done, you've heard hard pop rave-ups, lonely ballads, strangely trancey anthems, dark and rugged guitar work, anguish and optimism -- maybe his catchiest, most honest collection since Sugar's Copper Blue.

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