REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Old tricks well told on latest solo album from Bob Mould

Old Subbacultcha

Old Subbacultcha

Alt-rock titan dips heavily into the past with an album that traces the peaks of Sugar and H
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Bob-Mould-coverBob Mould - Beauty & Ruin (OUT 9TH JUNE)

Is it burdensome to have not one but two seminal bands to your name? Not content with the trail he blazed with former cohort
Grant Hart in
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ü, whose fusing of the punk hardcore scene with sunshine pop burnt hard and bright before bitter implosion after a near decade together in 1988,
Bob Mould for this writer at least is most revered for the work he did as
Sugar and 1992's
Copper Blue in particular. With that album widely and rightly acclaimed as as fine a slice of grunge power pop as you'll ever hear (album of the year in MNME no less) the year's since that band's last (1994's
File Under Easy Listening) haven't necessarily been laden with glories as
Mould has continued to follow a dogged path of solo eclecticism. Said path has seen a series albums of mixed success (1998's
The Last Dog And Pony Show certainly had its moments) sometimes synth led and indulging the new influences his sideline as a live DJ has inspired, but more recently he's returned to more familiar territory, 2012's
Silver Age a pronounced throwback to the pedal to the metal of his youth, an unabashed focus on taut power pop with no distractions.
Beauty And Ruin is effectively more of the same, an energised Mould again returning to the wonderful sonic palette of
Sugar in particular. As the man himself sings on
'Nemeses Are Laughing' he’s
"retracing footsteps of my younger days", and there's certainly no shame in nostalgia that sounds as good as this. Yes
'I Don't Know You Anymore' is effectively the same song as
'Can’t Help You Anymore' and the aforementioned
'Nemeses Are Laughing' bears a more than passing resemblance to the doom-laden happy sludge of
'The Slick' from
Copper Blue but there's such simple glee and pleasure in the melodic peaks and troughs that he crams in twelve tracks in little over thirty six minutes, that's impossible to ignore or begrudge. The shoe gaze meets
Elton John's
‘Rocket Man’ as played by
Neil Young of album opener
'Low Season' is a particular highlight and likewise the glorious fizzy rush of
‘The War’ and whilst nothing here quite approaches the almighty peak of
Copper Blue, it's still some going for Mould in his fourth decade in the business to pack such a punch. It's a welcome racket of a resurgence that's for sure.