Patch The Sky

Bob Mould

Merge, 2016

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Bob Mould has been on something of a renaissance as of late, with 2012’s Silver Age restoring his joyful pop-punk-rock chops and 2014’s Beauty & Ruin showing a more contemplative, heavy side in both music and weighty lyrics. Patch The Sky is sort of an amalgamation of these two approaches, loud and churning and affirmative.

In short, it’s Mould’s best record in a long time.

The 12 songs are all blasts of hard rock through Mould’s various incarnations; the rush of Husker Du, the more pop side of Sugar, the noises of ‘80s underground alternative, and ‘90s commercial alt-rock and early 2000-era punk-pop all swirling in a rush. Mould and his two bandmates (the powerful Jon Wurster and Jason Narducy) create an intoxicating array of riffs, some more melancholy than others, but all incendiary and garage-rock worthy. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

To be sure, those who appreciated college rock radio in the late ‘80s and early to mid ‘90s will feel the most at home here. If you felt Husker Du, Sonic Youth, early R.E.M., and the Pixies spoke to you, the sound of this record on songs like “The End Of Things” evokes that wonderful style of songwriting. Elsewhere, “You Say You” is the kind of Foo Fighters song that Dave Grohl hasn’t written since “Everlong,” and it’s every bit as good as that track. “Losing Sleep” is fantastic, with Narducy’s bass taking lead while Mould’s guitar is pushed back, allowing Wurster’s snare drum to crack like a whip through the din. It’s a break from the cheerful assault of the first four songs and shows a diversity in songwriting; it’s also as catchy as a virus and I’m going to download it as soon as I get home.

Mould’s lyrics tend toward darker themes like the end of the world, mortality, loss, and wondering when he will find the optimism that comes naturally to others, but he never wallows, instead finding hope and energy in the music. “Hands Are Tied” and “Losing Time” are all youthful punk-pop energy, “Daddy’s Favorite” throws out some great riffs, and the closing “Monument” slows things down with reflective, honest lyrics and the same power as the rest of the disc, but it’s a little more potent when allowed to simmer instead of boil.

Patch The Sky manages to be bracing and life affirming, contemplative and joyous, free of pretension and necessary to your day. It’s one of the great rock albums of the year.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2016 Benjamin Ray and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Merge, and is used for informational purposes only.