“Never too old to contain my rage,” snarls Bob Mould on the title track of Silver Age, simultaneously announcing his welcome return to loud rock music ( after several forays into blippy electronic stuff ) while also letting you know that rock 'n' roll is no longer the province of youth that it once was. Old dudes can do this too!
Silver Age coincides with the Merge Records reissue of Mould's old band
Sugar's debut record Copper Blue, and it displays many of the same qualities that keep listeners coming back to Copper Blue after 20 years. The simple power-trio format, the concise, confessional songwriting, and Bob's distinctively nasal Midwestern vocal delivery – it's a formula that's served Mould well since Hüsker Dü, and a gift that keeps on giving to fans of no frills, punk rooted, power-pop.
“Star Machine” sets the tone, opening the festivities with thick riffage, drums that are all business, and lyrics that tell a pointed tale of rock 'n' roll disillusionment. It's a theme that comes up regularly on Silver Age, likely having roots in the autobiography Mould published last year. The dense arrangements and punching guitars are nearly unrelenting throughout the record, with only the soaring, chiming “Stream of Hercules” offering some relief at the halfway point. The production lends to this feeling of weight and density, with Mould's voice mixed low, struggling to break out from the wall of guitars, bass, and thundering drums.
Silver Age is a satisfying listen from the get-go, and a superb return to the rock for Bob Mould. It's timing is ideal as well, closely following the 20-year anniversary of Copper Blue, and in some ways serving as a musical accompaniment to Mould's recent autobiography, See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody. Silver Age is highly recommended for even the most casual fan of this punk pioneer and master songwriter.