Patch the Sky parece que es el álbum encargado de cerrar la trilogía de la intronspección de Bob Mould. Entre 2012 y 2016, el ya cincuentón líder de Hüsker Dü y Sugar nos ofrece una visión real y auténtica de su trayectoria vital a través de las pérdidas de su padre, madre y de su situación actual, agarrado a la existencia (Hold on). Un álbum que, sin descubrirnos nada especialmente nuevo en el universo sonoro de Mould (ni falta que nos hace), sí que incide en esa áspera visión del Pop-Punk y de las melodías firmadas por uno de los grandes gurús del Indie de guitarras de las últimas décadas.
“On Patch the Sky Mould seems to be at peace, if not with the world at large, at least in regards to the way he can best address it. He may always be one of rock and roll’s great contrarians—angry, angsty, and loud—but after nearly 35 years of making records, he no longer seems determined to be kicking against his own strengths. In fact, he’s finally embracing them. “I’m a really good rhythm guitar player, a fair vocalist, and a pretty simple songwriter,” Mould recently told the New York Times. “Now that I’ve come to accept that, it’s much easier to work with.” To that end, Patch the Sky has a remarkable sense of clarity—playing like a record that is less concerned with reinventing the wheel as opposed to simply refining it.
“Can I find some truth within the noise?” Mould asks on opening track “Voices in My Head.” It’s a question that the rest of Patch the Sky answers with a resounding yes. The best tracks on the record are the most furiously full-throttled, many of which threaten to drown out Mould’s voice entirely. “The End of Things” lets fly with one of the best riffs Mould has written in a decade, bashed out with the kind of stupid raw enthusiasm that brings to mind the best of his Sugar output back in the ’90s. Similarly, tracks like “Daddy’s Favorite,” “Pray For Rain,” and “Hands Are tied” (a punked out rave up that revs up and explodes in under two minutes) all provide the gleeful no-nonsense squall of the world’s most amped garage band.
Joined by drummer Jon Wurster and bassist Jason Narducy, Mould seems to be having a genuinely good time here, even when the subject matter veers directly (and somewhat predictably, for Mould) into apocalyptic territory (“Lucifer and God”) or tries to unpack frazzled relationships (“You Say You”). Mould still sounds best when he’s articulating anger at a high volume, and Patch the Sky succeeds largely because these songs sound as if they were hardwired to raw nerves. It’s only when the songs slow down slightly (“Hold On,” “Black Confetti”) that they start to feel like a generic slog.
While he might never be able to duplicate the desperate urgency of his iconic punk rock past, Mould more than makes up with it in terms of sheer intensity. At 55, Mould has managed to do a bit of everything, his career having come full circle several times over. His voice—an odd, atonal yelp—still sounds the most absolutely right when paired with overdriven guitars. “I keep searching, hoping, waiting for the sun that always shines so bright on everyone,” he sings on album closer “Monument” providing a little light amid the dissonance. The songs here aren’t necessarily breaking new ground stylistically, but that really isn’t what matters. At this point, Mould clearly has nothing left to prove” (Pitchfork)