Bob Mould


Beauty & Ruin

Merge Records


With Husker Du and Sugar, Bob Mould has been the masterful leader of a couple of the most revered punk rock three-piece outfits in history. With the latest chapter of his solo career, Mould has found himself fronting another power trio that contains the current powerhouse rhythm section from Superchunk.

While Mould is sonically at his abrasive best during Beauty & Ruin, he also at his most vulnerable as he reflects topics such as the passing of his father and his ongoing musical legacy. I Don’t Know You Anymore is as good a melodic buzz saw pop song as Mould has written since the hit laden Copper Blue as he balances the right amount of heartbreak with caustic kiss off.

Mould rediscovers some youthful exuberance during the high octane and frenetic slice of punk rock, Kid With Crooked Face. Vocals are buried below walls of guitars more often than not, but there is still room for Mould to turn things down when he has something to say. Forgiveness is one such moment where some tenderness is shown.

Mould has turned his back on wrestling commentary and a brief dalliance with electronica to find himself in a rich vein of form with his solo records over the past few years. Beauty & Ruin is the pick of the bunch, overflowing with the kind of guitars that make ears bleed and bowels rumble.