Grant Hart

Good News for Modern Man

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No one has to ask "what the hell happened to Grant Hart?" anymore. When last heard from in 1994, he was releasing his second LP with Nova Mob. His absence since was perhaps atypical, but here he is again, resuming his solo career for the first time in ten years. The good news is that Good News doesn't sound like Nova Mob or 1991's visceral Last Days of Pompeii, nor does it repeat his more introspective 1989 solo LP Intolerance or 1988's accomplished 2541 EP. Production-wise, this is the most pleasant Hart has come across. A sugar rush is added to his pronounced hooks, adding warmth without robbing the attack of vitality. It's hard to describe -- the first thought might be the exuberance of Cheap Trick on "Surrender," only not so thumping. Songs such as "Nobody Rides for Free" and "Seka Knows" are not traditional power pop as much as vaguely restrained, crunchy-under-the-surface melodic rock songs with slight '60s influence. This steady, understated exhilaration is consistent with Hart's affable personality. You see it most on the lightest selection, "Run Run Run to the Centre Pompidou," a jaunty pop romp to nowhere in gay Paris. But it's just as prevalent in the slower, demure tracks such as "You Don't Have to Tell Me Now" and, most unique of all, the Chills-like New Zealand hush of "Teeny's Hair." Hart's control now is as impressive as when he was contrarily blistering the night with such incredible intensity behind the drums in 1984. His best LP since he parted company with Bob Mould and Greg Norton? Very likely!

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