Tuesday, August 22, 2006
BLAST FROM THE PAST
Good News for Modern Man (Pachyderm)
Now, this is what I call a very pleasant surprise!
Grant Hart, of course, is best remembered as one third of those melodic hardcore punksters Husker Du. Together with Bob (Sugar) Mould and Greg Norton, Hart would blaze a musical trail in the 1980s that would lead on to the Pixies and ultimately Nirvana.
For those who feared the worst, expecting a bit of the post-grunge malaise in Hart's current material would be glad to learn that Hart has re-defined his work somewhat through the kaleidoscopic lens of the 1970s. The result is a refreshing and challenging set of songs that threaten to make Hart a cult hero all over again.
Drawing from the best work of David Bowie and John Cale, "Good News For Modern Man" contains the same cutting edge accessibility that the likes of Bowie and Cale once excel in. A successful marriage of artistic and commercial values. Well, commercial in the sense that much of "Good News For Modern Man" deserves to be played on heavy rotation on any radio station you would care to name.
The opening "Think It Over Now" epitomises this method succinctly. A densely layered production albeit minimally arranged with Hart delivering a drop dead gorgeous melody that one cannot fail to hum along to after the first listen. The country-flavoured "Nobody Rides For Free," the surf rocking "Run Run Run To The Centre Pompidou," the elegant "You Don't To Have To Tell Me Now," the Joy Division evoking "Teeny's Hair" and the chillingly Bowiesque "A Letter From Anne Marie" and "Seka Knows," build on this foundation brilliantly.
Even with the obvious budgetary constraints (this album is gloriously D-I-Y), Grant Hart has created a thing of incredible beauty - you can hear it in the way he attacks each song with tremendous gusto. "Good News For Modern Man" is the sound of an artist in full control of his faculties and gifts. It is the sound of classic music making.