Dusting Off... Hüsker Dü's Candy Apple Grey
What is it?
Released in March 1986, Candy Apple Grey is the fifth studio album by American alternative rock band Hüsker Dü. Formed in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 1979, Hüsker Dü was a three-piece outfit comprised of lead vocalist / guitarist Bob Mould, drummer Grant Hart and bassist Greg Norton, releasing their debut LP Everything Falls Apart on their own Reflex imprint in 1983 before releasing a further three albums on Black Flag bassist Greg Ginn's SST Records. Candy Apple Grey, probably their best-known LP, was their first release on a major label (Warner Bros.), and was to be their penultimate album before splitting after 1987's Warehouse: Songs and Stories.
Hüsker Dü sprang out of the hardcore punk scene that included bands like Black Flag and Dead Kennedys, but their sound was unique, much more melodic than that of their peers and notably much faster than most other bands at that time, thanks in large part to Hart's ferocious drumming. Bob Mould's guitar sound, achieved with his trademark Gibson Flying V, has been described as being “like a tray of glasses being dropped in a church” and was one of the elements of the band's style that proved hugely influential, with the band often credited with being the missing link between the hardcore alternative scene and the college rock scene that sprang up around them, one which included acts like The dB's and R.E.M.
Along with 1985's Flip Your Wig, Candy Apple Grey is usually considered their best record and includes some of their most popular tunes, particularly 'Dead Set On Destruction' and 'Don't Want To Know If You Are Lonely', the latter of which being the band's biggest hit.
Why should I revisit?
Hüsker Dü's influence is far more wide-reaching than their own record sales would suggest, credited as being a major influence on bands like Pixies and Nirvana, with Krist Novoselic once commenting that Nirvana's sound was “nothing new. Hüsker Dü did it before us.”
One of the first 'alternative' bands to sign to a major label, Hüsker Dü were trailblazers fro much of the college rock scene that followed and Bob Mould has continued to have success since the band's dissolution, especially with his later band Sugar, which produced on of the best albums of the early 1990s in Copper Blue.
Who will enjoy it?
If you're a fan of the less shouty bands to emerge from the hardcore punk scene, or if you're into to the type of pop-punk that the likes of Green Day and Blink 182 have made careers out of, you should give all Hüsker Dü's albums a listen - this is, after all, where it all started and they're owed a debt of gratitude by these and many other bands – but Candy Apple Grey is a great place to start.