Despite his best efforts to sway opinion to the contrary, Bob Mould will always be defined by his work within Hüsker Dü. The Minneapolis trio's bracing punk, overloaded with volume and pop hooks, still carries amazing weight some 25 years after the fact.
District Line is certainly one of Mould's better solo releases, featuring catchy choruses and the always solid drumming of Fugazi's Brendan Canty. But Mould's vocals have a forced mannerism, and with Mould playing every other instrument, there's stagnancy to songs such as "Stupid Now" and "Who Needs to Dream." Those hoping for anything resembling "I Apologize" or "Makes No Sense at All" need to keep waiting for that much-anticipated Hüsker boxed set.
Mould has tried on many hats in order to shade himself from the glare of his imposing past. District Line is supposedly meant to be Mould's reclamation of his guitar-slinging legacy, but it instead serves as yet another ruse, an exceedingly good one, but just another in a series of releases where Mould dabbles in ill-suited styles and restrictive, pretentious forms that occasionally display sparks of what made Hüsker Dü so revelatory. "Sad attempts at poetry, sad attempts at happiness," sings Mould on "Again and Again," summarizing much of what constitutes as a comeback these days.
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