Taking a ride on the District Line has rarely been as satisfying.
Rowan Collinson 2008
There's a lot to thank former Husker Du and Sugar front-man Bob Mould for. From the pioneering buzz-saw guitars of the former to the power pop of the latter, Mould's late '80s and early '90s work paved the way for Nirvana, The Pixies and a whole vein of American college rock.
It's disappointing then that Mould’s solo work since has been competent rather than compelling. However District Line – his seventh solo outing - marks a return to his trademark melodic sound. Indeed, the pop punk rush of lead single The Silence Between Us or Again And Again wouldn't sound out of place on Sugar's 1992 masterpiece, Copper Blue.
On District Line there's a sense that Mould has been re-energised musically and personally. This may, in part, be due to his unexpected reinvention as a club DJ, bringing the likes of Justice and Soulwax to Washington DC, but also due to the security that middle age brings, and the accompanying feeling that he's far enough away from past glories to revisit his musical roots. Even on its more reflective moments - most notably the aching Old Highs, New Lows - District Line fizzes with warmth and naggingly insistent melodies.
If you'll excuse the pun, rather than mouldering in a corner, it's a testament to his songwriting skills that Bob is still making records as good as Husker Du's debut LP 25 years ago. For long time fans and newcomers alike, taking a ride on the District Line has rarely been as satisfying.