Husker Du are one of my favourite bands of all-time. The first record I owned of theirs was the astonishing live debut Land Speed Record which is a difficult record and a strange way to kickstart their phenomenal discography.
I saw Husker Du live on the strength of that faster than fast debut and knew no more material. Husker Du were one of the first bands I ever saw play live and hugely different to the more mainstream bands I had seen. The band played a dumbed down but astonishing set at The Powerhouse in Birmingham in the late 80’s. The band played late into that Sunday evening and I had to walk 6 miles home due to missing the last bus. I wouldn’t change a thing about that night though. That gig changed music for me – it’s really as simple as that.
With an immediate need to hear more I bought the Metal Circus E.P. as soon as possible, (which was probably the next weekend thinking back). At the time the N.M.E. was citing the band as sounding ‘like the Buzzcocks’. This was a poor comparison and lazy jouranlism. Husker Du sound very little like The Buzzcocks at all and in retrospect are best reflected on, as they often are, as being a hardcore bridge that went on itself to hugely influence the grunge scene.
There is not a band song on Metal Circus. There is, however, a stand-out song that – anyone who listens to the E.P. will agree – is the head and shoulders above any other song on that record. It’s one of the best songs the outfit would ever release.
The sheer menace of the song is incredibly powerful. It is accessible and I always recall when listening to the song even now that it was a rare song I was not asked to ‘turn down’ when I blasted it out at home. The song has a lot of edge and a feel of very real threat. Musically it is flawless and a showcase of near pop tuning into threatening sludge with its slow build.
Therapy? covered the song years later and the track sparks debate as to which is the better version. That is probably the daftest question I have ever had posed to me…