Music

Album review: Bob Mould’s ‘Beauty & Ruin’

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Three stars

Bob Mould Beauty & Ruin

Old age becomes Bob Mould. At 53, he’s got the indelibly influential back catalog (Hüsker Dü in the ’80s, Sugar in the ’90s). He’s got the ever-unwavering credibility. He’s even written his memoirs and looks great with a gray beard. In short, this punk elder has earned the right to do whatever the hell he wants. So it’s nice that he’s giving us exactly what we want—a new solo record that’s loud and bittersweet and very Bob Mould-y. While Mould’s early solo albums were mostly reactions to the work he’d done in more famous bands, Beauty & Ruin finds him at peace with his own legacy. Along with dingy rave-ups like “Little Glass Pill” and “Tomorrow Morning,” there’s the gleaming acoustic pop of “Forgiveness” and “Let the Beauty Be,” in which Mould sings, “Baby, this could be the time of your life” and sounds completely convinced.

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  • “This record has very little insecurity. It was a blast to make, and it’s really fun to play live.”

  • Anyone who discovered COC at the band’s popular height should be satisfied with this effective return to the familiar.

  • Bassist Nate Brenner partners with leader Merrill Garbus for an approachable and dancey record.

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