Uncle Bob does it again

Mould continues (another) career high on his 11th solo album

June 19, 2014

Defiantly riding the third (or fourth, if you count Sugar) high of his post-Hüskers career, curmudgeonly but ever-lovable ol’ Bob Mould continues the melodic adrenaline rush of 2012’s outstanding Silver Age on the new Beauty & Ruin, his 11th solo album. Once again fronting the powerful but empathetic rhythm section of drummer Jon Wurster and bassist Jason Narducy, the theme for the 53-year-old guitarist and vocalist still is raging against the dying of the light, though he intends a more specific arc of three sections here, portraying his movement from pain to reflection to acceptance following the death of his father, with whom he had a troubled relationship. If it doesn’t quite match the brilliance of his last outing, that’s only because there’s a little more drone and a little less melody (Bob’s roar is always most effective when it’s balanced by those sweet hooks) and, not surprisingly, a little less humor in the lyrics this time around. But standouts like “Hey Mr. Grey” and “I Don’t Know You Anymore” rank with his very best.

Bob Mould, Beauty & Ruin (Merge)

Rating on the four-star scale: 3.5 stars.

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