This CD cover image released by Merge Records shows the latest release by Bob Mould, "Silver Age." (AP Photo/Merge Records) Purchase photo reprints »
This CD cover image released by Glassnote Records shows the latest release by Two Door Cinema Club, "Beacon." (AP Photo/Glassnote Records) Purchase photo reprints »
Atlantic Records, $12.99
On his third album, “ill Manors,” Plan B is bold and blunt, telling it like it is with gritty lyrics that sound like beautiful poetry.
“There’s no such thing as broken Britain, we’re just broke in bloody Britain,” he protests on the opening and title track.
The album serves as a soundtrack to the rapper’s directorial debut of the same name, which was released this summer. The film depicts eight characters struggling to survive in Forest Gate, the East London neighborhood where Plan B was born and raised.
Each track is vivid, as Plan B raps about drugs, poverty and prostitution. The album was mainly produced by Al Shux, best known for producing Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind.” Highlights on “ill Manors” include “Playing With Fire,” “Pity the Plight” and “Falling Down.” Some of the lyrics will send chills, like on “Lost My Way,” where Plan B raps: “That’s why these kids ain’t got no hope, walking round their estates thinking `this is it,’ they ain’t ever getting out and it’s no joke, probably is the best of life they’re ever gonna get.”
David Cameron, are you listening? We are.
Rooting for Bob Mould to sound like the old days can be a guilty feeling.
It’s an uncool itch you might not dare admit wanting to scratch. Because if anyone deserved slack while tinkering with techno and balladry for the last decade — and doing a half-decent job at it, really — it’s the indie rock pioneer behind Husker Du in the 1980s and Sugar in the `90s.
But “Silver Age” is permission to come clean with that nostalgia. Mould’s ninth studio album isn’t merely for die-hards and apologists. This is all brawny guitars, power-pop melodies and unflagging drums. The arena-rocker “Steam of Hercules” is about as ambitious and wandering as there’s time for in 38 minutes that otherwise fly by before you know it.
Mould is touring this year playing Sugar’s heralded “Copper Blue” in its entirety on the album’s 20th anniversary. Maybe the best compliment of “Silver Age” is that the new songs wouldn’t feel out of place in that set.
— Associated Press