Sound — 6
Throughout the album, because of Mould's current lineup, hearing this record really solidifies how a great power-trio can pack their punches. Wurster's drumming is akin to Grohl's drumming on "Nevermind" and Jimmy Chamberlain's drumming on "Cherub Rock" from "Siamese Dream." Listening to the powerful velocity of the drumming on the record, it was as if Wurster was firing a cannon 1 metre away from your ears.
The musicianship throughout the album really gives off a nostalgic feeling that this is Sugar performing on this album, but also gives it a fresh new insight into both Bob's world as well as the world around himself. With a core lineup which includes bombastic drumming on par with Dave Grohl and Jon Bonham, as well as a great vocal performance by Mould, in which many hints of early influences in his younger years come back for a visit, it is a great record for both young and older of Bob Mould who will enjoy this very much.
The album cover (yes, I'm commenting on that too), is a very realistic representation of turmoil, grief, and greyness that Mould must have been feeling at the time of writing such a passionate, intricate, yet hard-rocking record. The time-lapse of the cover, in which it portrays a young man having a cigarette, and then Bob next to him, clearly portrays the changes he went through both recording this album, as well as the other 11 solo albums he has made throughout his career (not including the Husker Du albums in his teenage-angst-ridden years).
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics, like most of Mould's work are straight and to the point, and as he stated in an interview, some songs, like "Fix It" did not have lyrics until the mixing session of the album. As with most of the albums he has written, the lyrics definitely speak for themselves. Bob Mould still has it, after 30+ years.
The lyrics meld together what the narrator is feeling towards the music, and vice-versa. Throughout the album, Mould clearly defines what he is speaking for, against, as well as feeling at times.
Overall Impression — 7
With the new album, "Beauty & Ruin" is split between 12 tracks, it's good to think of this record in sides, as in side 1: the beautiful, punk side with heartbreaking lyrics synched with catchy guitar hooks and melodies, and side 2: the hard-core-rocking conclusion that sums up the album, going from sadness on the first track "Low Season" all the way through a war with oneself and others "The War," and then through the track "Forgiveness" in which the narrator forgives those people, things, and thoughts that may have harmed him in the past. The album flows on through, declaring reconciliation throughout "Let the Beauty Be" and that closing off with the track "Fix It" in which the listener should do just that, for life's struggles are nothing to procrastinate over.
My overall review of the album, personally, would be 3.5/5 stars and 7/10 rating. This is an album that triumphs the "Silver Age" in terms of song quality, structure and lyricism.