Record Review: Bob Mould - Sunshine Rock

Bob Mould is back with yet another raging record full of catchy melodies and punchy guitar riffs. "Sunshine Rock" is filled to the brim with songwriting awesomeness and although the record couldn't be more characteristic, it never feels redundant or repetitive. That might be the case because the 58 year old musician adds new facets to his sound without totally changing the keystones.

The opener and title track is like a good friend bumping into you and saying "Hey, how are you!?", energetic and surprising. If musicians want to incorporate strings into their sound in an unpretentious way, they can trustfully turn to Bob Mould, because "Sunshine Rock" is an example for exactly that. "What Do You Want Me To Do" is another signature track by the man who is loved by so many not only for his solo works, but also for his musical ouevre with Hüsker Dü and Sugar. It's so good to see - or better hear - that musicians like Bob Mould don't give a damn about the latest music fad but just stick to what matters to them. I've been reading a lot about how Rock has fallen out of the mainstream and supposedly is not at the center of attention anymore. But to me, it never mattered what's hot anyways, and "Sunshine Rock" feels just so timeless and inspired that it's pure joy. In times where everything needs to be ironic, it's so cool to have an honest track like "Sunny Love Song". Some songs stick out, for example "The Final Years" with it's New Wave keyboards; they reappear in "Lost Faith".

That Bob Mould named this record "Sunshine Rock" is bit of a feint, because even if the word "sun"
 turns up very often, this is not an easy listening record. It's upbeat and positive, but it doesn't lack depth - and of course, nobody would have expected something like that. The 2016 record "Patch the sky" had darker undertones and concluded the trilogiy consisting of itself and its two predescessors "Beauty And Ruin" and "The Silver Age". The singer/guitarist says he wanted to "write to the sunshine" for personal reasons. He has been spending a great deal of the last three years in Berlin and found inspiration there. "Send Me A Postcard" shows the great balance between accessible songs and songwriting uniqueness. It might be right that Mould doesn't deal with the depressing state of American politics and that he has put the deaths in the family behind him. But he still delivers music that is deep and if we listen to the optimistic undertones in "Western Sunset", we know that he's just done what we love him for: Write songs and play guitar in the way only he can. Dummer Jon Wurster from Superchunk  and Bass player Jason Narducy complete the line-up, and the record feels tight and compact. If you are a fan ob Bob Moulds former bands, if you're fond of music that comes from the heart or if you just want to get a real rock pounding, check out this album. You won't regret it.

"Sunshine Rock" was released on Friday, February 8th, via Merge Records. Here you can watch the video for "Lost Faith":