Album review: Bob Mould's 'Silver Age'

Bob Mould, center, blows off steam with great conviction on his new album. He’s pictured with Jason Narducy, left, and Jon Wurster. (Photo by Peter Ellenby)

After years spent exploring acoustic textures and electronic sounds, Bob Mould comes full circle on “Silver Age” (Merge), his latest. It’s Mould at his most explosive, on full-bore electric songs that bristle with tension and spill over with hooks. The ex-Hüsker Dü/Sugar singer sounds nettled, which is just how you want him: it amps up the volatility on the hard charging single “The Descent,” and turns “Briefest Moment” into a lacerating thrill-ride as it hurtles along over Jon Wurster’s battering-ram drums.

For all the snarly bombast on “Silver Age,” Mould has never sung with more ease: he’s not forcing out clenched-jaw confessions here, he’s simply letting loose through shards of guitar on “Keep Believing” and growling with disdain over the workings of fame on opener “Star Machine.” The singer has said the album was in part a fast-and-loose response to the far more controlled three-year process of writing his autobiography, and no one else blows off steam with quite as much conviction.

— Eric R. Danton

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