As a member of legendary Minneapolis underground band Hüsker Dü and leader of the wildly acclaimed Nineties outfit Sugar, Bob Mould was known for blanketing bleak tales of relationship woe with layers of electric guitar and driving choruses. Having settled comfortably in Washington, D.C., he turned his attention to electronic music in the earlier part of this decade, and remnants of synth and vocoder linger on District Line, his latest album. But it mainly follows the playbook of his last CD, Body of Song, in that it sounds more like Mould's earlier stuff than something you'd hear at a club. (In fact District Line's last song, "Walls in Time," was originally recorded for his solo debut, Workbook.) Fans will surely appreciate his guitar heroism on songs such as "Return to Dust" and "Stupid Now" but might not be thrilled with his lyrics. Pockmarked by clichés, they can be downright sappy, such as on "Old Highs, New Lows," when he sings, "I am speechless in your beauty/You are flawless in my eyes." Mould is clearly happier in his personal life, and it may be cruel to wish he were still the raging, depressive genius he was during the Eighties and Nineties, but there you have it.
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