Bob Mould’s latest album, Beauty & Ruin made its debut in early June. Mould, who has made a career playing in alternative and punk bands in the ‘80s and ‘90s, has retained some of those musical elements on Beauty & Ruin, but he also ventures into new territories. Take the track “Nemeses are Laughing,” which opens with a vocal line coupled with finger snaps that are reminiscent of a ‘60s doo-wop and R&B. But it isn’t long before Mould shrewdly transitions back into an alternative guitar riff that nearly knocks you off your feet.
As an artist, it is vital to keep updated with the times while also creating music that’s representative and true to where you are in your life. The first track on the Beauty & Ruin, titled “Low Season,” shows Mould’s experimental side. It’s shadowy and ambient sounds make you feel as if you are breaking free from a dark place in your life, then the instrumental textures are dominated by an overdriven guitar that enters the mix. One of the key characteristics of Mould’s tone is distortion, modeled after the wall of sound technique made famous by Phil Spector in the 1960s. Here, it makes for some great upbeat and in-your-face riffs, which pop up throughout the album. Although Mould retains much of the qualities present in traditional punk and alternative rock, he is not afraid to break new ground and stamp his signature sound into every song he writes.