Various Artists

Dü Hüskers: The Twin Cities Replay Zen Arcade

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Imagine being handed the task of reconstructing, in whole or part, a Hüsker Dü album -- any of the seminal recordings by the band who essentially reshaped the destructive, insular contour of 1980s hardcore. Now imagine being asked to take on Zen Arcade, the grandaddy of them all -- the cyclonic double album that devoured its own influences and churned out, at an amphetamine pace, a howling raison d'être for disillusioned punks everywhere. An intimidating task, to say the least. Which is why it's so surprising that this song-for-song "replay" of the band's loosely concept-based album succeeds much more frequently than it fails. As it would've been impossible to re-create the intensity of the legendary, recorded-in-85-hours masterpiece, most of the 24 Twin Cities-based bands who appear as the Dü Hüskers wisely (and this is probably as much to the credit of executive producer Pat Whalen as the artists) avoid an attempt at mimicking the roiling, vociferous monster that is Zen Arcade, instead opting to soak up the songs in their respective MOs, thereby enabling the return of some gratifying renditions molded in their own images. Which is not to say that there aren't plenty of reverential loud/fast covers here, but the strength of the compilation lies in the diversity of the artists and their willingness to freely interpret the songs. And that, along with local writer Terri Sutton's loving and eloquent liner notes, is probably the most fitting living eulogy for the band, and it makes for one of the most well-deserved and honestly crafted tributes in a genre littered with garish throwaways.

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