Breakbeat Bob

Rating: NNNNNBOB MOULD at the Phoenix (410 Sherbourne), Tuesday (April 9). $20. 416-870-8000.bob mould admits that his newModulate album.


Rating: NNNNN

BOB MOULD at the Phoenix (410 Sherbourne), Tuesday (April 9). $20. 416-870-8000.

bob mould admits that his newModulate album will seem like a kick in the teeth to his fans.Four years ago, the singer/songwriter declared he was retiring from the shimmering, guitar-driven power pop that stretched back 20 years to his classic days with Husker Du.

Mould insists that he never thought he’d stop making music entirely, but he might as well have. While there are traces of the old Mould on Modulate, the record is more awkward experiment than interesting listen.

Recorded after seven months of working at his dream job of writing storylines for World Championship Wrestling, Modulate represents the transformation of Mould from punk rock icon to club kid dotting his conversation with references to Dimitri From Paris and Sasha & Digweed.

Gone are the blisteringly loud guitars, replaced by electronic tinkling, Cher-ized vocals and Mould’s attempt at making club music.

The response has been predictable, and Mould seems resigned to the giggles the record is receiving.

“Most people are disgusted with this record,” Mould snaps from Athens, Georgia. “I understand that it seems like a massive shift, so I’m spending all year explaining to people that this is who Bob Mould is now.

“I’m still writing pop songs and talking about relationships, but I’m a lot more revealing about gay-specific themes, and I’m doing it in an electronic way.”

Mould’s decision to suddenly be explicit and open about his personal life is a major change, but only part of his transformation.

At 41, Mould can almost be called a classic rock artist for indie rock fans, and he admits that the idea of prancing around onstage with a power trio doesn’t appeal to him as he gets older.

“Being the screaming rock guy is a young man’s game, and I’m not interested in waking up every morning with a bloody throat and my ears ringing,” he shrugs. “For the past three or four years, I’ve been living in New York and just going to dance clubs. For one of the first times in my life, I was in social settings where the music wasn’t indie rock. Modulate is a pretty accurate reflection of the change that’s happened in me.

“I think this record represents a mature musician who’s pretty self-aware and not trying to replicate something that was effective 20 years prior.”

Modulate is just one of three records Mould will release this year. Still to come is an entirely electronic album under the alias Loud Bomb, followed by Body Of Song, a more traditional acoustic album with Mould back on guitar.

The singer/songwriter’s advice to fans? If you don’t like what you hear now, stick around and wait for the sound to change.

“The Loud Bomb stuff is even more electronic and ambient than Modulate, while Body Of Song is Workbook revisited,” he explains. “I think it will be a lot more comforting for people.

“There are people who are better now at doing what I did then. Blink 182 does the power pop thing really well, so if Modulate really offends you that much, I’m sure they’d be glad to take your money.”mattg@nowtoronto.com

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