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On the heels of BODY OF SONG (arguably he's strongest collection of songs since WORKBOOK), DISTRICT LINE shows a Bob who is finally comfortable with the many aspects of himself that once seemed in conflict. Searing guitar riffs layer more organically over electronic blips and beeps. Acoustic guitar lead-ins find good company and solid grounding in Brendan Canty's drums. Even the cello returns! And keyboards fill in the empty spaces while a pop-sensibility sits side by side with some serious introspection.
Is it old ground? Certainly. But for the first time (BODY OF SONG included), Bob sounds satisfied with it all. Comfortable. Dare I say "happy"?
Some songs miss the mark in mix-down. Vocals seem lost in the otherwise rocking "Return to Dust" and "Shelter Me" throws everything but the kitchen sink into the mix. Perhaps the biggest disappointment? "Walls in Time" -- a song of such intensity and beauty that, when played live, has literally brought me to tears -- is a solid arrangement but lacks the vocal potency that Bob has shown countless times in concert (compare to some bootlegs out there and hear how these lyrics can truly move you). Still, the strength of tracks like "Silence Between Us" and the aforementioned "Stupid Now" more than makes DISTRICT LINE a keeper.
The familiar themes of lost love, missed opportunities, and the spaces between us are all there.Read more ›
The first couple of songs are enjoyable, clever and inventive in some places, catchy and relatively radio friendly. Seconds after the third song started, I put it back to the beginning and turned up the volume. When it was over, I played it again. Strangely uptempo, it is an utter heartbreaker. I don't think I've ever heard Mould's voice so vulnerable and emotional.
Other tracks, too, have plenty of charm. "Return to Dust" and "Shelter Me" find Mould returning from that vulnerability to a more characteristic blending of his voice into the song, until it sometimes becomes difficult to separate it--a vocal trick that he uses to good effect to emphasize voice-as-instrument. The uneven sound levels of "Return to Dust" make it sometimes hypnotic. Mould's incorporation of elements from electronica into "Miniature Parade" and trance into "Shelter Me" have a similar effect. The strings in "Walls in Time" are gorgeous.
Mould is an artist, like Kristin Hersh of Throwing Muses, who has always seemed to me interested in developing different aspects of his musical genius in different projects.Read more ›
Even "Shelter Me" is accessible to those with an open mind. Dizzying, shimmery pad swells and android drumming sweep Mould's vocals along; any frugal plucks of guitar serve only as subtle accentuation, but the track is still far more organic, open and free-flowing than other dance club hitmongers like, say, Fatboy Slim or The Prodigy, summing up in a single track the direction which Mould seems intent upon steering his musical output.
While groovy all the same, the more "rock" moments on District Line tend toward an easy-going, midtempo head-bob the likes of "Very Temporary" and its simple vocal hook. Paired with some debatably awful lyricism for a musician of his history ("Just to please you, I'd blow my brains out, this is it/ Cut my heart out with a razor now"), it's easy to say that Mould is coasting on the waves he used to make. Given the wide appeal and success of ...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I came in late on this CD and see Bob Mould has put out another CD since District Line (I can't keep up). I really liked Modulate and loved Body of Song. Read morePublished on August 16, 2009 by mwreview
Pretty good collection of songs. I like Body of Song much better. This is worth adding to the collection but it won't make your favorites list.Published on June 19, 2009 by hackerMan
I don't have a deep knowledge of Bob Mould's work with Husker Du or Sugar, but I enjoy this disk. The leadoff track, "Stupid Now" features a simple melody line but the chorus... Read morePublished on January 5, 2009 by Jack Fitzgerald
Bob Mould its great guitar player and singer and compositor and... a legend. This is a great cd and buy it now!!!!!! Five or more starsPublished on December 18, 2008 by Fixxmaniac
A great return to form for Mr. Mould - every bit as good as his finest work, from Workbook to Sugar.Published on October 16, 2008 by _porterhouse
I've been a Mould fan since his days in Husker Du. I followed him through his post-Husker solo career, his days with Sugar (still the loudest rock concert I've ever seen), and his... Read morePublished on September 18, 2008 by Kinsey Millhone
After regrettably resigning myself to the thought "Bob Mould now sucks" (after Body Of Song and Modulate), all I can really write intelligibly about this album is "Thank you, thank... Read morePublished on August 8, 2008 by Stargrazer
Proof that some things not only age gracefully, but actually improve over time, "District Line" by Bob Mould is probably the most accessible CD he's ever released. Read morePublished on May 28, 2008 by Tammi Ree
Having become a recent Husker Du fan and a old lover of Sugar's "File Under Easy Listening", I was excited when Bob Mould put out this solo effort. Read morePublished on May 27, 2008 by Jacquelyn St Aubyn
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