Bob Mould

Beauty & Ruin

Written by: PP on 11/08/2014 21:15:46

Despite having a lengthy solo career, Bob Mould is still most widely recognized as the iconic vocalist, guitarist and songwriter for the legendary Hüsker Dü, whose six releases during the 80s paved the way for how 90s grunge and alternative rock scenes would pan out. Some of that influence is still vividly audible on his 11th solo album "Beauty & Ruin", that alternates between straight up grunge ("Low Season" sounds like a Pearl Jam/Soundgarden cross) to buzzing, vibrant alternative rock 90s style ("I Don't Know You Anymore") to material that hints at his hardcore punk origins ("Kid With Crooked Face" is crazy fast and rooted in punk ethos).

The end result? An album that any fan of 90s rock will find a trip down the memory lane and a refresher on how lively and free-flowing the guitar melodies were back then. Spacious production values mean the guitars reverberate freely in the soundscape, creating some of that magic stadium-size buzz that created so many gigantic rock bands during the 90s. Foo Fighters are still utilizing Mould's teachings to an extent, so if you want to hear where they got their sound from just listen to a track like "Nemeses Are Laughing", which sounds so much like late 90s Foos it's not even funny. Even though it's the other way around, of course. But whether it's the uptempo tracks or the more grungy ones, the common theme throughout "Beauty & Ruin" is its buzzing vibe that's full of warmth and sheer joy for playing music. If that sounds familiar and you have Superchunk's vibrant guitars ringing in your ears, you're exactly on the right track as they are some of the closest compatriots to the alternative rock godhood that Bob Mould helped pioneer back in the day.

Though I'll happily admit not having extensive knowledge of Mould's entire solo discography, it's nonetheless refreshing to hear that he's still rocking out with heart and with sheer joy, as a song like "Fix It" suggests through its playful vocal melodies and upbeat guitars. Eleven albums down and 53 years of age, Mould is still waving the flag of quality alternative rock high, and has just enough punk influence to melt the hearts of 90s worshippers like me who have since then moved onto the faster genres. Comes highly recommended if you ever liked a Superchunk or a Foo Fighters album, which I guess would be the most of you.


Download: I Don't Know You Anymore, Kid With Crooked Face, Nemeses Are Laughing
For the fans of: Hüsker Dü, Superchunk, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Foo Fighters
Listen: Facebook

Release date 03.06.2014
Merge Records

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