Sugar, Copper Blue

Ann Powers

By Ann Powers

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Copper Blue


Sometimes an artist has so much at stake when he makes an album that you can feel the sweat on his knuckles in every metaphorical groove. This debut from Bob Mould's second great punk band glistens with that urgent energy. Following the nasty break-up of the legendary Husker Du, an indie goliath whose failure to reach major-label success brought a sense of bitter defeat and helped destroy the band, Mould made a few meditative solo albums, but still dreamed of more. Copper Blue brought it on — with alt-rock hits like "Helpless" and "If I Can't Change Your Mind," this was the pop assault Mould knew he could mount. Rubber-fingered bassist David Barbe and big-shouldered drummer Malcolm Travis had the power and the panache Mould needed for these singalongs to work. The production is as metallic as the title, but that somehow adds to the overall intensity — this is music knifing its way out of Mould's bitter, big heart.