Just before The Last Dog and Pony Show hit the streets, Bob Mould announced that his supporting tour would be the last time he hit the road with a full electric band. From this point on, he would be challenging himself, finding different musical avenues to explore and leaving his trademark tower of guitars behind. Presumably, this also meant that The Last Dog and Pony Show would be the recorded farewell to this sound, and it is indeed an excellent consolidation of all of his musical quirks and signatures. The Last Dog and Pony Show is the work of a craftsman, not a nakedly emotional confessional like Workbook or Bob Mould. That's not to say the album is lightweight, since seriousness is one of Mould's signatures, but there is a sense of humor that hasn't been heard since Sugar, and he, overall, sounds more relaxed than he has in years. He's so relaxed, in fact, that he lets down his guard on the cheerfully ridiculous pseudo-rap "Megamanic," the only track on Show that offers a musical departure from Mould's past. The rest of the record is clearly a Mould album, from the rushing rockers to the impassioned acoustic ballads, but the craft in both the songwriting and the production guarantees that the music never sounds like a retread, even if it does sound familiar. And that's not a bad way to draw to a close the first part of his career, if Mould does indeed turn his back on his signature sound.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Track Listing - Disc 1