Savage Young Dü

Husker Du

The Numero Group, 2017üsker_Dü

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


Long-awaited by fans, this three disc box of all the early Husker Du material is finally here. While I will be the first to say that I’m not as massive a Husker fan as I should be, this package is still interesting nonetheless. Starting chronologically, the record provides quite the inward view of where the band would go in their storied career and what type of influence they would ultimately have on punk rock.

Beginning with their earliest demos, it’s clear that on some tracks the band already knew where they were headed; they just had to get all of the hardcore punk out of their systems. “Sore Eyes” is a really good indicator of the direction the band would end up going much later. Many of the early demos, such as “Can’t See You Anymore” and “All I’ve Got To Lose Is You,” really show that lyrically, the band was already on par with future classics like “Don’t Want to Know If You Are Lonely” and others. They both are really great examples of the promise that band was already showing. Other tracks like “Nuclear Nightmare” and “Uncle Ron” are just pure punk fury. Whether they’re actually listenable or not, it’s nice to see the band having some fun and not being totally serious all the time.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The latter half of disc one and most of disc two are taken up with live tracks. While I’m not a huge fan of live albums, particularly featuring songs I’m not familiar with, there are some winners here. One of the best is “Outside,” which is a great track that belongs with the best of the band’s catalogue. Speaking of the best, the remastered “Statues” is just mind-blowing. It’s so amazingly good that it’s hard to believe it was the band’s first commercially released single! Packed with loads of energy and great vocals from both Hart and Mould, this song is just outstanding.

For the most part, the live tracks on disc two, which comprise a revised tracklist of 1982’s Land Speed Record, are an interesting artifact. The fact the original master tape of Land Speed is long gone is why there’s an alternate setlist from the same timeframe. This was a time in the band’s career when they were polishing their future and working out different things. The sound is good, but the songs are often indistinguishable. It all seems to rush by in a punk rock blur.

Disc three gets to the meat of the bone. Kicking off with a personal favorite, “In A Free Land,” the band sounds more sure of themselves by the time they’ve gotten to the studio again and you can hear it in these tracks. The crystal-clear sound really is something to behold. On some tracks like “Target,” they are still in the hardcore vein, and while some tracks are decent, not everything is a winner. But this is the sound of a band in transition, slowly beginning to move from straight punk to something with a little more melody and a lot less bludgeoning volume.

After listening to these tracks, it’s fair to say I prefer Husker Du as a more melodic sort of punk band, not just deafening hardcore. This set is interesting for all Husker fans but, for the fans that don’t own everything under the sun, this is just a hardcore box. Savage Young Du is fascinating overall, but not for everyone.

Rating: B

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© 2017 Pete Crigler 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 The Numero Group, and is used for informational purposes only.