“this album has melody, it has discord; it has menace, melodies and relief” – Niall McGuirk on Grant Hart‘s The Argument

My first time outside Ireland was as a teenager visiting Blackpool. I got the ferry over with my folks and couldn’t believe how cosmopolitan the city was. That was certainly more of an indication of Dublin in the early 80’s, but most importantly Blackpool had a record shop that sold good records, much like Freebird only a lot cheaper.

My first introduction to Husker Du had been in Freebird records when I bought the tape Land Speed Record. I had heard many good things about the Minnesota trio. When I got home and put the tape on, I honestly thought it was damaged. Can a band be that fast and chaotic and so revered? I didn’t return to them until Blackpool and New Day Rising was on the shelves. I seem to remember scoring a Half Man Half Biscuit record and possibly Bad Brains, the Newtown Neurotics and New Model Army. I asked about Husker Du and on hearing the title track I was won over. I got my tape out again and listened to Land Speed Record in a different light altogether.

Grant Hart wrote three songs on New day Rising, including the very memorable “Books About UFOs“. So it’s fitting that on my return from Blackpool in 2013 I am reviewing a new Grant Hart lp. Of course Husker Du fizzled out with arguments and drug use but thankfully both songwriters are still pursuing their dream. Anyway, let’s skip history lesson and move on to the events of today that will become future history – Grant Hart’s new release, double LP – The Argument .

To get things clear right from the start, this is a concept album based losely on Lost Paradise by William Burroughs and Paradise Lost by John Milton. It tells the tale of the fall of Lucifer through the fall of man… Indeed, it is grant Harts Rock Opera.

There’s twenty songs to get through in 74 minutes and the style is a step away from that soaring guitar riff laden sound. From the brooding start of Out Of Chaos to the fuzzy harmonical led finish of For Those Too High Aspiring this album has melody, it has discord; it has menace, melodies and relief.

We have glimpses of Grant in Husker Du with the melodic swirl of Morning Star and more than a hint of 60’s psychadelia spread throughout. Listening to it in one sitting makes for a very pleasant journey. Like a car journey to a good place in the rain, there’s some twists and turns to handle, some close calls but ultimately you reach your destination and looking back it was fun. Why not hop along and make this journey too.

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