There are few more legendary or more respected figures in indie rock than Bob Mould. The revered Hüsker Dü and Sugar leader is now 51 years old, and after a period of years reflecting on his life both with a series of album reissues, introspective experimental solo records and an all-encompassing autobiography. ‘Silver Age’ sees Mould done with reflection and sensitivity and eager to what he does best and has done for so many years - produce power pop at its very finest.
There is not an ounce of fat on this record, nor one wasted note. There is a tightness and white-hot energy rippling throughout the ten songs featured here. The most obvious comparison is with Sugar’s seminal ‘Copper Blue’ a record that celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year. ‘Silver Age’ shares much of that record’s breathless aggression and peerless pop thrills.
Opener ‘Star Machines’ careers in on a classic-sounding riff while Mould’s voice is immediately familiar. The three-piece format has worked extremely well for Mould, all the way back to Hüsker Dü and it is a formula he employs to similarly outstanding effect here; the rhythm section of Jason Narducy and drummer Jon Wurster are perfect foils for Mould’s coruscating whip-smart guitar.
‘The Descent’ is a clear and obvious highlight. Any contemporary band today would kill to have a song as hugely melodic but deeply powerful as this - you would swear it was a long lost Sugar off cut straight from 1992. As it is, it is the sound of Mould reconnecting with an inner primal gift for quintessentially perfect power pop that you feared may have deserted him.
As the record progresses, the songs become more dynamic and expansive. The lurching riffs and grinding tension of ’Stream Of Hercules’ and closer ’First Time Joy’ are notable cuts that show off all of Mould’s dexterity.
This album is the sound of Bob Mould reinvigorated and reasserting his place at the head of the pantheon of US indie rock. Over 30 years since he started making music, ’Silver Age’ is a classic.