Bob Mould’s Beauty and Ruin is out today and I couldn’t be more pumped.
Mould has been kicking out records for 30 years in one form or another. Be it solo or with a band, this latest is quite possibly his best, a tall order following 2012’s Silver Age which was a return to his root sounds that was filled with dashes Husker Du and a sprinkle of Sugar.
I was lucky enough and had the privilege to be one of the first to hear Mould’s new record at SXSW.
Mould and band hit the stage at 1:00 am at The Parish in Austin, and while there was the usual dabble deep into his catalog, the meat of their hour long set was the brand new material. He actually thanked the crowd for letting him and his band “try out” the new songs for the first time. Thanked us?!? Thank you, Bob. To be frank, that new shit rocks.
Upon being blown away by the new songs, a June release seemed light years away to get the hear them again, but here we are.
Building on Silver Age, B & R borrows from all the familiar but best of the Bob Mould sound.
Perhaps he’s not borrowing but rather using all the tools in from his workshop his been collecting over his career.
Admittedly, I am a Sugar addict and Beauty and Ruin is heavy on this ‘sweet’ sound.
The bulk of this record is so good, but I am thrown off by the beginning.
The opening track, “Low Season“, feels like a weak start. Honestly, this song does not prepare you for the rest of the record.
Bob always seemed to drop the slower dirge heavy tunes midway to change pace like Workbook’s “Brasilla Crossed w/ Trenton” type vibe; he has tricked us here a bit so possibly the joke’s on the listener.
Further, the last song ‘Fix It’ feels to me like this record has an encore song. Personally, I would have made it song #1 right out of the gate, it puts me right back to the energy of SXSW show where he tested things out.
“Fix It” is also pure Sugar — and for my money, and I can’t say enough, I love that stuff.
Based on previous records, the second-to-last track “Let the Beauty Be” sounds like the final song. It’s a heart-tugging ballad-y number and feels like the end of a record should sound.
Beauty and Ruin is personal without sap, unapologetic without arrogance, and a return to Mould’s punk rock roots with the benefit of a grown man’s wisdom.
I feel any Bob Mould fan would agree; the guy has mastered his craft and has written his classic.
This is a really fucking good record, end of story.
Listen here and judge for yourself: