Bob Mould – Beauty & Ruin
Bob Mould’s been cranking out classics for 35 years, from Hüsker Dü’s deceptively-tuneful blitzkrieg to the heroic powerpop of Sugar, and recently he’s hit upon a rich vein of form. Admittedly, this new ‘un is probably the darkest he’s been since second solo album Black Sheets Of Rain in 1990: Beauty & Ruin was composed in the wake of his father’s death, and morosely mid-paced opener Low Season suggests there’s a rough ride in store.
From thereon in, however, the mood changes. The melodies get brighter, the pace picks up, and Bob’s buzzing guitar cuts through the contemplative lyrical tone to make for some pretty exquisite rock’n’roll. Kid With The Crooked Face and The War will provide succour to long-term fans, each meshing intimate self-reflection with velocity and power, but the softer Forgiveness should melt a few hearts too. “We won’t grow,” Bob insists, desperately attempting to salvage a relationship, before pleading, “so don’t go.” Simple but devastating. [Will Fitzpatrick]