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Bob Mould 

Body of Song (Yep Rock)

By surviving a groundbreaking group (Hüsker Dü) and then forming a band that's more lucrative and almost as influential (Sugar), Bob Mould has had as impressive a career as anyone of the post-punk era. His solo releases, though, have found him fumbling for reconciliation between his various roles as midwestern everyman, pop aficionado, and gay-club DJ. If the results have so far been jumbled, it's not for lack of trying. With Body of Song, he nearly finds a middle ground.

On "Light Love Hope," "I Am Vision I Am Sound," and "Missing You," Mould meshes his soaring rock with subtle club tricks (vocoder effects, synths). He's mostly dispensed with his trademark 100-tracked vocal harmonies -- a brave move, since it's apparent when he uses his upper register on otherwise powerful songs like "Paralyzed" and "Best Thing" that age is creeping in. The organ and church bells on "High Fidelity" are cheeky, but charmingly ambitious, in line with Mould's constant will to experiment. The sweeping closer, "Beating Heart the Prize," almost settles the score, but is still less than declarative, which befits Mould's habit of always questioning, then moving on.

More by Eric Davidson

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