23 March 2013

Hüsker Dü - New Day Rising


Do earlier efforts get outshone by later efforts too often?  Think about it, have you ever really seen any member of a rock band do any better than the first band that made him famous.  I'm thinking apart from Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters, Frank Turner after he left Million Dead and that is all that really stands out.  The first band seems to be the most loved. Now I come to discuss Bob Mould and his first band Hüsker Dü.  This band ran from 1979 to 1988, and this was their third album.  The album was produced by the band themselves and Spot (an SST (The band's record label) in house producer and engineer). Well, I say produced - it is a little on the rough side, but that part of the charm of this band, they were a little rough and not polished.

All the songs are short, sharp and for the most part punky.  When it works, I reckon this shows the band at its best.  Songs such as "New Day Rising", "I Apologize" (American spelling as they are from the USA) & "Powerline".  Granted, there is a whiff of same-ness about them - but when they are played well it doesn't matter. Sometimes..... Then you get the flip side of this is that sometimes it does not work.  Such tracks as "Terms of Psychic Warfare", "How to Skin a Cat", "Books About UFO's" - they just don't work for me. It seems like at time they want to either be a noise band or a pop band, but whilst it is brave that they attempted it, it also failed.

After a while, I have to admit that the production job started to get on my nerves.  For the punky numbers it was perfect, but it sounds like it shit on the more serious numbers (if they can be called that).  But part of the charm is that the songs are never around long enough to really bore you as they tend to be around the 2-3 minute mark, sometimes less.  By the time you get to "Plans I Made" which is a perfect example of what this album is about, you will no doubt have made up your mind.  Personally I think that this band has moments of almost perfection, and then they seem to destruct.  Ironically on "Plans I Made" it sorts of punky, falls to noise and comes back to noise punk in a way which the rest of the album can only dream of doing.  Frustrating for me to say the least.

So, I asked earlier if earlier moments outshine people's future output outside of the original band.  The reason for this is that Bob Mould went on to form Sugar, who took the same formula but vastly improved it.  I feel like Hüsker Dü is almost like homework towards something else.  I just get the feeling that the band was constantly in fights (and upon reading up about them, they seems to have been the usual band dramas of drugs, drinks and lack of self control).  Whilst that can sometimes this can make for a great album, in this case alas it does not.  Not bad, but not good.....

4.5 out of ten - Well it is alright, but still......


You can purchase from here


You can listen to it on Spotify here

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