BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Credit Bob Mould with some truth in advertising. Beauty and Ruin, a title that suggest a collision of polar opposites, aptly describes Mould’s signature blend of melody and mayhem, a patented approach created early on with his seminal outfits Husker Du and Sugar. While the former foresaw the rise of grunge and the latter signaled a new breed of post punk ferocity (each in their own way helping to set the stage for the Pixies and the Foo Fighters), Mould’s frequently meandered in his solo endeavors, delving into dance, electronica and deejaying, penning his memoirs, and pursuing his interest in professional wrestling. It’s been an odd and unpredictable mix at times, but Mould’s always made a point of indulging his interest with passion and integrity.
Nevertheless, there’s something strangely comforting in finding Mould back where he belongs, going full tilt with songs that recall the beginnings of his musical journey. He may not be the angry young warrior that he once was early on, but nevertheless, he dives into these dozen songs with a verve and veracity not heard since Husker Du’s heyday. If there’s any complaint, it’s that many of these songs sound similar, given the buzz saw tempos and frantic pacing that predominates throughout. It’s left to songs such as “Forgiveness” and “Let the Beauty Be” to provide some respite, however marginal.
As for the rest, expect little relief. Here again, Mould pursues a manic muse.
DOWNLOAD: “Forgiveness,” “Let the Beauty Be”