Bob Mould – Sunshine Rock (Album Review)

After his stint in the late ’80s with the now legendary band Hüsker Dü (“Don’t Want to Know if You Are Lonely”) and his resurgence in the mid-’90s with his next group, Sugar (“If I Can’t Change Your Mind”), Bob Mould embarked on an enduring solo career, which continues to this day. Prolific indeed, the New York born American singer-songwriter/guitarist is unleashing yet again a new album on Friday, February 8, 2019, via Merge Records.

A follow-up to his 2016 effort, Patch The Sky, and titled Sunshine Rock, apparently Mould’s thirteenth studio album opens with the sunburst crunch of the title-track. In just the first few seconds to it, the listener will know immediately that he is in Mould territory—Shoegaze noise and Indie catchiness in glowing glory. The happy mood continues on with the equally upbeat and engaging carrier single “What Do You Want Me To Do” and the hypermelodic “Sunny Love Song.”

“Thirty Dozen Roses” then takes the listener back to the exciting Post-Punk beginnings of Mould, harking back to Hüsker Dü’s sour-sweet, apple-candy rockers. The ensuing “The Final Years” then gallops dramatically with its dark and romantic balladry—another sure future classic. The slightly slower “Irrational Poison” then follows in the same orchestrated guitar beauty. Then there is the stark nostalgic ring of “I Fought,” which comes across initially as if paying homage to U2’s “I Will Follow,” only to assume again its Punk sensibilities.

Mould then changes style and pace with the Post-Grunge mid-tempo “Sin King,” and he further slows down the atmosphere with the Reggae-flavored “Lost Faith,” which has faint hints of The Cure’s “Play for Today,” R.E.M.’s “Harborcoat,” and The Alarm’s “Rescue Me.”

Relaxing the album for a bit, Mould then delivers the folksy, inspired trek back to “Camp Sunshine” sans all the guitar noise and drum poundings. The penultimate track, “Send Me a Postcard” kicks in like a feigned Rockabilly, only to transform quickly into a proper Hüsker Dü/Sugar, copper-blue and beastly Alternative Rock mold. Finally, Mould wraps up his latest sugarcoated bombshell with “Western Sunset,” whose fuzzy guitars and vocal harmonies hark not only to the golden days of Alternative Rock in the mid-’90s but also to the bubblegum Pop of the late ’60s.

At 58 years of age, Bob Mould may be getting older. However, his music has definitely retained its sonic edge and youthful energy. Sunshine Rock is a simple statement of that. As clear as sunshine, it certainly rocks! That is why Cryptic Rock gives it 4 out of 5 stars.

Thu Feb 14 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club *
Fri Feb 15 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer *
Sat Feb 16 – Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club +
Mon Feb 18 – Toronto, ON – Phoenix Concert Theater
Tue Feb 19 – Pittsburgh, PA – Mr. Smalls
Thu Feb 21 – New York, NY – Brooklyn Steel *
Fri Feb 22 – Chicago, IL – Metro
Sat Feb 23 – Chicago, IL – Metro
Mon Feb 25 – Ft. Collins, CO – Washington’s
Tue Feb 26 – Denver, CO – Gothic Theater
Fri Mar 1 – Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom >
Sat Mar 2 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
Fri Mar 8 – Hamburg, Germany – Gruenspan
Sat Mar 9 – Berlin, Germany – Columbia Theater
Mon Mar 11 – Düsseldorf, Germany – Zakk
Tue Mar 12 – Leuven, Belgium – Het Depot
Thu Mar 14 – London, UK – Electric Ballroom
Fri Mar 15 – Leeds, UK – Brudenell Social Club
Sat Mar 16 – Edinburg, UK – The Liquid Rooms
Sun Mar 17 – Manchester, UK – Academy 2 Manchester
Sat Mar 30 – Minneapolis, MN – The Palace
Sun Mar 31 – St. Paul, MN – Turf Club
Tue Apr 2 – Dallas, TX – Granada <
Wed Apr 3 – Austin, TX – Mohawk <
Fri Apr 5 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
Sat Apr 6 – Seattle, WA – Neumos
Sun Apr 7 – Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw

* w/ Titus Andronicus
+ w/ Screaming Females
> w/ Criminal Hygiene
< w/ Will Johnson of Centro-matic

Purchase Sunshine Rock:

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ALfie vera mellaAuthor posts

Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He started writing album reviews for Cryptic Rock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?; in 2021, his first book of poetry, Pag-íhip sa Dáhon ng Kahápon [Blowing Leaves of Yesterday]. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. aLfie is a dedicated father to his now 13-year-old son, Evawwen; and a loving husband to Kathryn Mella, who herself moonlights also as a writer aside from holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology.

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