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Bob Mould

Body of Song

Yep Roc


No one loves ol' Bob more than I do. Since Workbook, Mould has created some of his most interesting and lyrically moving material, either by himself or with those Sugar boys.

That said, Body of Song is a curiosity of sorts. Mould has decided that good songs and his own voice just ain't enough, so he's enlisted the most annoying technological accouterment of modern dance music, the vocoder, just like the one Cher used on her madly successful dance albums. I gotta believe its just residue from 2002's Modulate and its supporting tour, where Bob played mad scientist with the beat box.

Thankfully, the dancing Bob with the robot voice shows up sparingly on Body of Song. Mould instead mixes styles that span from the Husker days ("Best Thing") to Workbook ("Gauze of Friendship") to Sugar ("Circles") to File Under: Easy Listening ("Missing You"), only skipping the beautiful bleakness of Black Sheets of Rain (I guess because Bob's a popster now).

The dreaded vocoder pops up on "(Shine Your) Light Love Hope," a track that unnecessarily electroplates textures over Bob's voice while adding plenty of sweaty thump-thump-thump dance beats. It doesn't work, at least for this old-school fan. How would the track have sounded sans technology with straight-up rock drums? We'll never know. We only get a slight synth line added to the guitar roar on "Paralyzed," but "I Am Vision I Am Sound" is yet another trip down the runway.

Ah, but then there's the good parts. "Days of Rain" is a straight-up back-beat rocker, unrestrained and chiming with the same vulnerable vocals heard on Workbook. "Best Thing" is the kind of Mould that everyone's been waiting for, complete with the line "You just lost the best thing you never had." "High Fidelity" is a sappy, traditional guitar ballad that no will be expecting, while "Missing You" flies atop a layer of Mould-on-Mould harmonies and a brash mid-song guitar solo.

Yeah, it would have been better without the electro-dance stuff, but overall it's the best Bob has done since File Under…

back torevhead.gif (1924 bytes)   Posted July 18, 2005. Copyright 2005 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Rating: Yes

Obligatory pull-quote: "It would have been better without the electro-dance stuff, but overall it's the best Bob has done since File Under… "