Bob Mould is something of a legend in the alt-rock community. Many know him for his work fronting the iconic Minnesota rock trio Hüsker Dü, but since the early 90s, he’s continued to make a name for himself with a collection of outstanding solo albums.
Unlike many legacy artists who keep churning out record after record to a dwindling audience, each album more stale than the last, Mould continues to release some of his best work to date. His latest, Sunshine Rock, which is out February 8 on Merge Records, adds yet another brick to the legacy he has built over the past 30+ years.
Good guitar rock is hard to find nowadays. The genre has declined in popularity so much that many casual music fans have a hard time naming current rock acts save Coachella headliners like Imagine Dragons or The National. For fans of guitar-driven music, Mould’s new record is a breath of fresh air.
The album is earnest, energetic, and anthemic. It’s hard to listen to songs like “Irrational Poison” or the title track, “Sunshine Rock,” without wanting to learn all the words and sing along. While many of the songs are accessible enough to appeal to a broader audience and even get radio play, Mould isn’t afraid to venture back to his punk roots on the aggressive seventh track, “I Fought.”
The punk rock is kept to a minimum, though, which is not necessarily a bad thing since Mould is fantastic at writing straightforward rock songs. The sincerity and raw emotion in his voice isn’t filtered out by the earbuds, car speakers, or whatever system fans use to consume music. That’s tough to pull off.
Making listeners feel something, giving fans an experience similar to the one they would have at a live show without them needing to leave the house—only a special kind of musician can do that. Sunshine Rock does it, and that’s why Bob Mould is an alt-rock legend. It’s why, after over three decades, we’re still listening.