Review Summary: Workman's Foot Finds Workman's Boot.
Bob Mould is the everyman of punk rock and hardcore. Some might say that Ian Mackaye or Henry Rollins fit the bill better but neither have the emotional vulnerability or power that Bob had. They tell you how to be, Bob tells it how it is. In the exact same way Husker Du was the everyman's punk rock/hardcore band. Both their work and image were relatable to everyone, talking about problems that were personal in a way that related universal truths that other bands never could, the music equally having a deeply poignant facet that the others never had. They were a working class band without the stupid working class stereotype. Everything Falls Apart
, their first effort, perhaps illustrates this best.
The music on Everything Falls Apart
is far more raw and under developed than later on; there are only glimpses of the dynamic sound the band would later create in the slightly softer moments on the title track and 'Gravity.' Mostly this album is a roaring and at certain points slightly unhinged workman's boot to the face. Some songs are more in the vain of traditional punk rock, some fun, some anthemic but always written with strong riffs and a surprising amount of cleverness. While none of the songs are technical masterpieces, Bob and Grant keep the songs interesting by the occasional use of an uneven transition or some other such device. Not only that but they both know just the right amount of melody and aggression in some of the more crossover songs, opener 'From The Gut' being the best example.
Everything Falls Apart
is at it's strongest when the band goes completely unrestrained on the most aggressive songs. Album highlight 'Signal From Above' is the metaphorical equivalent of a train wreck in a china shop, the riffs screeching out at a million miles per hour and Bob Mould screaming his head off like never before. Similarly on 'Punch Drunk', 'Obnoxious' and 'Target' the band dive head first into the sun while Bob and Grant give some of the best vocal performances of their respective careers. In fact in many ways this album seems to bring out some of the best performances from all the band members; Grant's drumming is varied and interesting despite some sloppiness, some of the riffs written by Bob are some of his strongest and this album contains some of Greg's best work (see the bass-line on 'Gravity'). Overall then while this may lack the dynamics, poignancy and ambition of later albums it's a strong start for one of punk rock's most eclectic acts.