Saturday, May 07, 2016

"Candy Apple Grey," Husker Du (1986)

Around the time that Prince was rewriting the history of rock 'n roll in Minneapolis, there was another band from that town doing everything they could to become, at the very least, a footnote.

Husker Du is probably one of the best examples of what Robert Christgau called "semi-popular music." Whether you called them post-punk, alternative, hardcore or something else, they were never going to top the charts - their music was just too loud and too rough, for lack of a better term.

"Candy Apple Grey" was their best selling album, their major label debut, and the highest it got on the charts was #140. All you really have to do to figure out why that was the case is to listen to the album's first song, "Crystal." It's a sonic explosion with what sounds like a wall of guitars, and then Bob Mould starts singing, and he sounds a bit like Joy Division's Ian Curtis after gargling with broken glass. You weren't going to find anybody humming this one.

If the album had been comprised entirely of Mould songs, it might have been too much to take, given his intensity level. Drummer Grant Hart's songs, while equally loud and (for the most part) unhappy, are more melodic and strike a balance that makes the record, at least to these ears, their best.

One thing's for sure - it definitely sounds great turned up real loud on a rainy day.

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