Those of us who consider Husker Du one of the greatest hard rock bands still find it hard not to root for Grant Hart. When the Huskers--for whom Hart had provided great drums and greater songs-- broke up in early '88 amidst personal acrimony and reports of drug abuse, it was a shock for all of us who loved their prolificness (5 albums during a 2 1/2 year stretch in the mid-80s) and their perfect marriage of punk drive and pop smarts. And almost immediately, Hart came out with the wonderful "2541," which so completely captured the wistfulness following the end of a long-term relationship it was hard not to relate it to the Huskers break-up. Hart's future as a solo artist looked bright.
Unfortunately, what nobody seemed to realize was that Hart was really only good for 3 or 4 songs per album, something his 1989 solo debut Intolerance pointed out with great effect. Playing all of the instruments himself, Hart's overdubs worked on songs like "Now that You Know Me," "Come Come" and his chilling first-person tale of smack addiction, "The Main." But the rest of the album was filler.
Hart recruited a band, christened the Nova Mob, and released a, um, er, confused concept album called The Last Days of Pompeii. Or at least I was confused as to exactly what it was all about. And the songs, except for the one which started "Her favorite color was Werner Von Braun," really didn't invite further investigation. It was just blah, signified by the fact that one of the most unique drummers in rock history had made himself guitarist. What is it with drummers, anyways?
So now, four years later, a self-title Nova Mob album. Redemption time, right? Well, not exactly. This Nova Mob album has some great songs--about 3 or 4 to be exact--particularly the opener "Old Empire," and the untitled & uncredited extra super secret bonus track, but most of the songs, while catchy enough, fall into that generic punk-pop mode. You know, the one that Husker Du defined for all time. And what this band needs is a guitarist and drummer canny enough to de-genericize them.
I mean, if you're a Husker completest and come across this used , go ahead and snag it. But otherwise, don't bother.
Back to my Writing Home Page
This document last modified 09 August, 1995.
I was listening to Foo Fighters -- Foo Fighters