Music is a form of expression and therapy and often times the only way an artist can make sense of the events going on around them. It's something Bob Mould makes very clear when he steps up to the mic. After years of dealing with loss and delving deeper into a darkness that surrounded him, he's letting his new album, Sunshine Rock, shine through and light up his life and ours.
Mould made an effort to establish some changes in his life. One step he took would be moving from San Francisco to Berlin, where he found himself being more engulfed in live music, as well as attending more clubs. This change sparked the positive light in him that lead to "Sunshine Rock." The album's opening title-track perfectly encapsulates the tone of the rest of the album. It's a fast upbeat love song loaded with catchy riffs that give you the sense of driving through "sunny California." It's kind of strange that it wasn't written there. The following 3 tracks maintain the speedy energetic pace. "What Do You Want Me to Do" and "Sunny Love Song" are much more straight Rock songs, while "Thirty Dozen Roses" gets injected with some of that Punk-attitude that fans of Mould's career have come to know and love.
The blistering tempo of Sunshine Rock takes a break so Mould can have an intimate reflection of his past and question his future with, "The Final Years." Rock guitars take a back seat, so ambient keys can serve as the backbone of the track. It's a drastic change, but it doesn't feel out of place. The gain gets turned back up on, "Irrational Poison." It's fairly reminiscent of Sugar's Alt-Rock sound, while the following tracks, "I Fought" and "Sin King" are heavier, deeper, and more aggressive. "Lost Faith" reminds us it can't all be sunshine and rainbows with Mould though. He expresses feelings of helplessness to a dreary tone on the verses and attempts to lift you back up on the chorus. With “Camp Sunshine,” it's just Bob and his guitar singing a song about writing music, having fun, and how
We can't predict the future, you can't forget the past
Just enjoy the moments we have.
Among the final two tracks is a cover of Shocking Blue’s song, “Send Me a Postcard.” Mould takes the track and blends his heavy guitar tone and shouty vocals to spur out a Punk-Rock take on the song. We come to the end, and there’s no better way to close an album filled with so much “sunshine” than with a track entitled, “Western Sunset.” The record is summed up best by Mould himself:
Music floats in the sky, then it disappears
So grateful you gave me time to bend your ears
I wasn't trying to reinvent the wheel
Only want you to know how I really feel
Sunshine Rock is a pretty straight-forward Rock record, but it’s a very good one. Like Mould says, he’s not trying to reinvent anything. Sometimes it’s just about being positive and doing something you love. When you’re doing something you love, it shows and it comes out powerfully. Bob Mould has been doing this for decades, and he still has a knack for writing quality music. I don’t see him slowing down any time soon.
8.0 / 10
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