Bob Mould’s hefty discography – split between Hüsker Dü, Sugar and his solo work – is both a blessing and a curse. Its strength means that there will always be an audience interested in his next step (perhaps especially so now, following his appearance on the most recent Foo Fighters album), but how can anything new ever live up to the previous highlights of his career? It’s an issue heightened by his vocals – sure, they’re the perfect fit for the sound on which he has earned his reputation, but they’d be an awkward fit for most other genres.
Thankfully, Silver Age fires out of the starting blocks with four strong songs loosely reminiscent of latter-day Hüsker Dü and Sugar’s speedier moments. Though such intensity isn’t maintained throughout, the album nonetheless evades the reflective acoustic moments and electronic productions that have featured on many of Mould’s other solo collections. Even when closing track First Time Joy suggests that a moment of introspection has arrived, it eventually launches into something altogether more strident.
Silver Age won’t have the impact of Zen Arcade or Copper Blue, but it’s heartening to see that Mould’s abilities are distinctly present in his fifth decade.