As the title suggests, Bob Mould's Body of Song is a representative cross section of all his solo material since the 1988 split of Hüsker Dü, his hardcore-turned-power-pop trio. Mould's string of dark solo albums was interrupted by a few well-received, radio-friendly releases by Sugar, his alt-rock band in the early to mid-'90s. Bored with the six-string, Mould then took to remixing and DJing in clubs, which led to two bland electronic albums in 2002. For Body of Song, Mould's back at the axe, with Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty (who's ultimately a nonfactor).
Like 1990's Black Sheets of Rain, Body of Song starts with an electric high point: "Circles" sandwiches Mould's nasal snarl between a mellotron-style keyboard and fuzzed-out guitar. "(Shine Your) Light Love Hope" recalls the forgettable electro discs, and "Paralyzed" sounds like a techie's take on a Sugar song. But the disc recovers. Album closer "Beating Heart the Prize" is vintage Mould and plays like a deep cut from Warehouse-era Dü, with a hint of Beatlesque melody. A cello solo makes the breathy "Days of Rain" glow. If Mould writes more songs like this, he'll emerge from the shadow of his early work and start earning comparisons to Peter Gabriel.
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