Bob Mould + Richard Morel

Bob Mould + Richard Morel

Bob Mould + Richard Morel


Full Frequency

You can’t charge Bob Mould with shunning a variety of venues. He first gained prominence while playing, singing and writing for the influential “alt-rock” band Hüsker Dü, and later the more forgettable group Sugar. But he’s also written for World Championship Wrestling, and his song “Dog On Fire” is used as the theme for The Daily Show, as performed by They Might Be Giants.

Still, his collaboration with producer Richard Morel could seem an odd one. Hüsker Dü evolved from a “speed core” punk rock band and Mould’s early solo work featured an acoustic sound. Morel’s credits include the Grammy-winning remix of Dido’s “Thank You.”

But Mould has experimented with electronica on recent solo recordings such as Body Of Song. And Morel digs The Beatles. Both men are also gay, in more than one sense of the word: Reading separate interviews with the two men via Google you notice they are thoughtful, articulate and witty, at least when being interviewed.

(I think there may be some sort of play on words, or double entendre, implied in the duo name Blowoff, but I wouldn’t know to be sure.)

Enough fooling around with history, how does it sound?

The answer is… it sounds pretty cool, actually.

The first song, “Hormone Love” reminds me of what might happened if the Beatles could have hit back at Candy Flip for covering “Strawberry Fields Forever.” This starts with an electronic bleat that’s knocked over by lay-it-straight-down-the-middle rock. It’s followed by “Here And Now,” which does something similar to a machine beat over manfully-strummed, hard-rock guitars.

“Get Inside With Me,” meanwhile, sounds like XTC-impregnated drum’n’bass. But on one or two songs, on first listens, there is a sense that “music” is being attempted by just pushing a lot of buttons. “Saturday Night All The Time” is an out-and-out dance track; its deadpan vocals recall Pet Shop Boys without the classic pop lyrics.

But “Beautiful” uses a found-object line at one point that I though no one would use after Meatloaf made it the basis of a song — and gets away with it because the song has such atmosphere.

“Fallout” is (if you can imagine such a thing), shining dark. It’s one of those best-kinds of songs where a heavy lyric is illuminated by, to coin a phrase, a thousand points of light.

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