Bob Mould

Sunshine Rock

Merge

Feb 08, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


After a run of three outstanding albums in the form of 2012's Silver Age, career-highlight Beauty & Ruin in 2014, and tear-stained gem Patch the Sky in 2016, former Hüsker Dü and Sugar frontman Bob Mould delivers a brighter, bolder rock record than one might expect at this stage of his storied career.

More mid-July heat wave than autumnal chillMould here incorporating the word "Sun" into no less than four of the titles of the album's 12 songs, this is a sparking, celebratory album that brings strings to the fore along with a cheery optimism that skirts naivety and is entirely self awareas on the serotonin-fuelled "Sunny Love Song" in which Mould describes himself as a "polar bear crawling through the jungle" so unused to these joyous feelings of companionship and love is he.

Smiling, generous lines like "I feel a cool breeze blowing through my beard" and "I'll bring you with me into the sunshine rock" (both torn from the title track opener) pepper the album; "Thirty Dozen Roses" explodes at breakneck speed, a frantic festival of tokens of love and what they can symbolizethis is about as far as it gets from Black Sheets of Rain.

Mould's voice here, as is often the case, barks, battling the mix, a foghorn against a torrent of thick, metallic guitar, his mastery of melody in evidence on songs like "Camp Sunshine," a late-stages tear-jerker that plucks heartstrings with its purity"You can't predict the future, can't forget the past/Just enjoy the moments we have" and "Always treat your friends with love and respect" being standout lines for this nostalgic soul.

It's not all glistening loveliness thoughthere's the darker political tract of "Sin King," the plodding, slightly morose "Irrational Poison" and the David Bowie-like goth-rock of the brilliantly nihilistic "Lost Faith"but this record really is about the upside, the positive, the promise of loveas the album closes out with the punk of "Send Me a Postcard" and the luscious "Western Sunset" we're warmed by the glow of Mould's love; impressed with his continued songwriting excellence, able to bring a little light to the darkest of times. (www.bobmould.com)

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