Bob Mould 

Body of Song (Yep Roc)

For the past ten 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 the vocoder 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 -- in short, maybe his catchiest, most honest collection since Sugar's Copper Blue.

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