sun 22/05/2022

CD: Bob Mould – Beauty and Ruin | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Bob Mould – Beauty and Ruin

CD: Bob Mould – Beauty and Ruin

Vintage punk-pop from Hüsker Dü veteran

'Beauty and Ruin': uplifting punk-pop married to angsty lyrics

Bob Mould is one of the patron saints of that uplifting punk-pop sound married to angsty lyrics which has gone down so well with the alt-rock crowd since the first wave of hardcore punk ran out of steam in the mid-Eighties. First with the mighty Hüsker Dü and then the more straight ahead Sugar, his fuzzy guitar sound was instantly recognisable and clearly made some impression on the likes of Pixies and Nirvana.

It is a sound that he has kept at arm's length for much of his solo career though, opting instead for stabs at reflective, acoustic maturity and even electronica. 2012’s Silver Age, however, saw a change of direction and a willingness to return to the thrilling sound of his early years, and Beauty and Ruin maintains this course. While this doesn’t make for much of the unexpected, the contents of this album are still more than enough to overshadow anything that his more notable imitators have released of late.

The opening song “Low Season” may have more than a sniff of Mould’s first solo album Workbook about it, but from there on in Beauty and Ruin is like coming across a horde of unheard treasures from Hüsker Dü’s later albums. “Little Glass Pill”, “Fire in the City” and the magnificent “I Don’t Know You Anymore” could easily have appeared on 1987’s Warehouse: Songs and Stories. However, while these tunes manage to convey the sound of vintage Mould, they do not sound dull and predictable in any way. Similarly, tunes like “Hey Mr Grey”, “Fix It” and “Kid with the Crooked Face” display shades of 1985’s Flip Your Wig and ramp up the punk acceleration without ever giving off the feeling of Dad at the alternative disco.

It’s heartening to have Bob Mould doing what he does best and doing it well. Beauty and Ruin’s sublime hooks will certainly ensure that it’s not just the old stuff that draws the audience in when he visits these shores this autumn.

Overleaf: watch video for "I Don't Know You Anymore"

It’s heartening to have Bob Mould doing what he does best and doing it well

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Average: 4 (1 vote)

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