On June 3rd, alternative rock legend Bob Mould released his 12th solo album, Beauty & Ruin, and you can listen to it above via Spotify.
Although billed as a solo album, Mould achieves a full band sound by including a powerful rhythm section consisting of his touring bassist Jason Narducy and Mountain Goats drummer Jon Wurster. With that, he's able to achieve a hooky, uptempo punk sound throughout the record. Although it begins with "Low Season" a slowed down power ballad with hard-hitting chords and low, ominous vocals, the rest of the album showcases Mould's ability to create upbeat, well structured punk rock songs.
Most of the tracks breeze by at just under 3 minutes, which means even the longer tracks don't feel like they are dragging. Every song on the album has a distinctive hook, and mini guitar solos, but they don't blend together at all. This album proves that Mould has mastered the ability to create catchy yet powerful songs that stick with you.
The album doesn't include much experimentation, which makes it more consistent, tight and overall well-polished. His lyrics are confessional and honest, either making fun of himself, as in "Hey Mr. Grey" or dealing with feelings of failure like in "Kid With The Crooked Face." There are some funny and cynical moments scattered throughout the album, "Hey Mr. Grey", for example, portrays Mould as the old man yelling at the youth to get off his yard and complaining about how stupid they all are. Overall Beauty & Ruin is a strong punk rock record that calls back to Mould's legacy but also fits in nicely with the current scene.
For more information on Bob Mould, including music, news and upcoming tour dates, check out his Zumic artist page.