8/10 Clinton Staff review, 29 May 2014
If not exactly seen as a comedic character, it sometimes seems that Bob Mould isn’t taken quite as seriously as he should be when the heroes of underground rock are discussed. Check yo’ history though; two hugely successful bands in Husker Du and Sugar, some great solo efforts including 1988’s maudlin ‘Workbook’ and 1996 blitzkrieg ‘Bob Mould’ are offset only by an oddball late career foray into electronica which he has thankfully forgotten about and his stint writing for pro wrestling.
He has returned here to what he is good at i.e creating fantastic fuzzy noisy catchy rock music. The opening trio of songs here signal a real return to form, from opener ‘Low Season’s Neil Young-like moves to the brutal ‘Little Glass Pill’ to the perfect power pop of ‘I Don’t Know You Any More’ which is as much of an earworm as ‘Changes’ or ‘Could You Be The One’. ‘Nemeses are Laughing’ is as close as he gets to Husker Du’s ‘New Day Rising’ heyday with a beautiful descending verse and about a million chord changes in the chorus though ‘Hey Mr Grey’ runs it close, sounding rather like some of ex mate/hater Grant Hart’s more nursery-rhyme efforts.
It takes until track 7 ‘Forgiveness’ for the fuzz and noise to subside and Bob to show a more plaintive side but otherwise its track after track of hi-energy, distorted to the limit flannel-rock. Only towards the end do you get the seen-it-all-before- feeling you sometimes get listening to his later albums. He has done the same thing for many years but what the heck, good old Bob does what he does and does it very well indeed.
9/10 David Customer review, 4th July 2014
After the magnificence of 'Silver Age' (which sounded essentially like the next Sugar album), Bob follows up in fine style with 'Beauty and Ruin'. It is not all plain sailing though as the weakest two songs are the first two tracks, which is a) unlike Bob as he normally starts with belters and b) on first listen, had rather dampened the initial excitement. However, 'I Don't Know You Anymore' turns everything around with a typical (in a good way) slice of singalongabob powerpop, before 'Kid With Crooked Face' brings back memories of Mould's time in Hüsker Dü. 'The War' ends side 1 and is, for me, the highlight of the album - a magnificent slab of pulsating rock with a gigantic riff that'll get stuck in your head. Side 2 continues from there as every track is a winner, from the two-minute blast of 'Hey Mr Grey' to the acoustic plaintive-sounding 'Let The Beauty Be' through to the final exhilarating punchiness of 'Fix It'. Oh yes, Bob has done it once again!
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