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In Bob Mould's own words, "I feel this one is more for the general listener." I couldn't have said it better myself.
Although this album will not disappoint die-hard fans, it sounds almost like a retrospective, a "greatest styles" album if you will. Could Bob's subconcious mind have been thinking, "Rather than release a greates hits album, which is pretty lame, why not release a new album where each song sounds an awful lot like one of my past hits, and make everyone happy? New #1 and Vaporub sound like they could have been on Workbook, these two could have been on Copper Blue..."
Well, maybe not. There are a couple of songs that stray from Mould's well-beaten path, for example the Mike Watt-like Megamanic and the hypnotic First Drag of the Day. This is certainly one of the Mould-y boy's most accessible records, probably second only to Copper Blue in that department. Don't get me wrong, there are some stand-out tracks on the album, cases in point Classifieds and Moving Trucks, both among the best songs Mould has written.
In sad and possibly related news, Bob has recently been heard reciting the mantra, "This will be the final time around with an electric band". That almost makes sense in the grand scheme of things, with this album summarizing his career so far and leaving us wondering where he's going to go next.
After many listens this album really reminds one of how much Mould is craftsman. He has fashioned his unique voice, interesting lyrics and solid guitar playing into a consistently interesting and entertaining, if not ground-breaking, body of work. This album nicely fits into the library and leaves a tasty zing on the palate. Like The Last Dog and Pony Show, this review is all over the place, but hopefully makes sense in the end, even if it takes a while to figure it out. Now, unfortunately, I must sleep.
•Stephen K. Donnelly (TuneVault Staff) Email
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