I actually wrote this while reading Bob Mould’s book, I assumed I attached it to something and then wrote about Mould’s second disc Black Sheets of Rain. And now I see that I never attached this to anything.
This is Mould’s solo debut, an album that I think of as being a mellow acoustic album. And it is, kind of, at least if you go by the opening song, “Sunspots” a beautiful little acoustic guitar instrumental. And the rest of the instrumentation on the record includes strings, which are prominent on “Wishing Well.” Although the song rocks a lot harder than I remember–especially the rollicking solo which has some real screaming guitars and angst in it. It sticks out a bit in the album because most of the album is more along the lines of “Heartbreak a Stranger”–opening with a gentle pretty acoustic guitar and Bob’s emotional voice (and really nice harmonies).
And then comes “See a Little Light” Mould’s first solo hit (and a big one at that). It’s bright and has great harmonies. There’s strings which really accentuate the song and a few moments which even now all these years later give me chills. “Poison Years” has more of that acoustic vibe but it brings in a big chorus (oh his harmonies!) and a harsh guitar solo (and a chilling final note)–a great song all around.
“Sinners and Their Repentances” is a minor key masterpiece in which Mould’s voice seems like the main instrument. “Brasilia Crossed with Trenton” is a six and a half-minute song. (This album is full of long songs actually–which comes as something of a surprise given Mould’s past success with three-minute pop songs–three of these are over 5 minutes and two are over 6!). “Compositions for the Young and Old” is a great song all around. “Lonely Afternoon” has some Hüsker Dü elements. “Dreaming I Am” has a great mid-song riff (which sounds like a mandolin) and there’s something so great about the chorus.
“Whichever Way the Wind Blows’ ends the disc with a loud abrasive guitar sound. And his singing is practically inaudible shouting. It sounds angry and has a rough riff and loud guitars. At nearly 7 minutes it’s quite the cathartic ending. It’s a strange ending to such a gentle disc, but maybe Mould wanted to show that he hadn’t gone entirely soft. It’s an amazing debut and an auspicious start to his solo career.
[READ: April 21, 2013] “Last Supper”
As I mentioned, this issue of Lucky Peach is about the apocalypse. So it’s only fitting that one of the two stories be about a Last Supper. The story is a series of letters from Adrian to Crowley.
Adrian invites Crowley over for a special meal that his mother is making in honor of the Pope and his Last Tweets of the Apocalypse. Adrian explains that her mother is a huge fan of Crowley’s work and would love it if he could come to this meal. There is an enclosed (grotesque) picture of a pig which Adrian says they will be serving and, although it looks like pig, it is not made of pig at all.
Crowley demurs this invitation–he is extremely reticent to eat anything that is not what it purports to be (he had a bad experience once). But he wishes them well.
Adrian replies that it would be so important for him to come and take part in this worship of His Holiness and the Apocalypse. And he promises lamb (another grotesque picture enclosed). This leads to a brief discussion of how an apocalypse is a beginning not an ending and Crowley agrees to come to the feast,which will be at a house in Provincetown, MA. Adrian explains that his butler Queenie will meet Crowley at the door.
The rest of the story continues as a letter because Adrian is not there when Crowley arrives, and so Crowley resorts to writing his disappointment on the letter which Adrian has left for him. But as we read the lengthy letter from Adrian, we learn that things are not what they seem.
Adrian’s letter is interspersed with concerns from Crowley, cleverly not revealing the big payoff until the story has shown all of its cards. I’m sure I have read the premise of the plot before–although the details are what makes this story original (and funny). And the three pictures (the last one of a child covered in food) add a demented twist to the whole thing.
The story proves to be dark but rather funny.