Release Date: Jul 24, 2012
Record label: Merge
After a couple of turgid post-Hüsker Dü solo albums, Bob Mould came back with a new band and a return to his former group's buoyant, noise-bitten alt-rock. This expanded reissue adds B sides and live tracks to an album that cut through the grunge-y haze of 1992 with crisp Sixties melodies and the daring emotional clarity of songs like "The Slim," about someone lost to AIDS. Listen to "The Act We Act": .
Bob Mould at his belligerent best…After period of solo introspection following the implosion of Hüsker Dü, Bob Mould chose a good time to form a new power trio. Post-Nevermind, angsty men with loud guitars were the order of the day, and there were few louder or angstier than Mould. Copper Blue combined Hüsker Dü’s passionate intensity with a new, steely pop resolve; released on label-of-the-moment Creation, it duly stole into the UK top ten in September 1992.
Of all the bands responsible for the development of alternative rock, Hüsker Dü gets the least amount of credit amongst the public in proportion to what it actually deserves. In bluntest terms, without the Minneapolis trio, the sound of alternative/indie rock as it is commonly understood would not exist. While the better-known R.E.M. made oblique lyricism de rigueur and crucially showed later alt-rockers how to develop careers that could cross into the mainstream without sacrificing the underground spirit, the influence of its actual music has paled in comparison to the immense propagation of the sonic template Hüsker Dü invented for the genre.
The first time Bob Mould heard My Bloody Valentine's Loveless, he was touring the UK as a solo act in late 1991. He'd walked out on a Virgin contract that had paid for two very good solo albums, and booted a management team that had, unbeknownst to him, traded his publishing rights for tour support money. While in the UK, he'd played some new demos for Alan McGee, who'd loved Mould's prior band Hüsker Dü since first hearing their blistering speed-punk cover of "Eight Miles High" about six years earlier.
NME’s Album of the Year for 1992 reissued with a wealth of worthwhile extras. Louis Pattison 2012 The music and influence of the pioneering Minneapolis hardcore band Hüsker Dü was investigated brilliantly in Michael Azerrad’s 2001 book on the 80s alternative underground, Our Band Could Be Your Life. But for Bob Mould, Hüsker Dü was his life – and going on the stories, tales of financial penury, addiction and interminable band squabbling, it was a pretty miserable existence His work with Sugar – the power trio he formed in 1992, four years after Hüsker Dü’s demise – feel like an attempt to wash away the angst of the post-punk years, to try on a sunny expression and see how it felt.
How ironic that after years fronting the hugely influential but desperately overlooked Hüsker Dü, Bob Mould's first project with new band Sugar, 1992's Copper Blue, would become the most commercially successful project of his career. Of course, it was released just as the seeds sown by his former band were bearing bountiful fruits in the post-Nirvana alternative nation, which provided ample explanation for its phenomenal success. But Sugar were well deserving of their success, regardless of time and place.