Ever-evolving artist Bob Mould—whose face belongs on the Mount Rushmore of alternative music—decided to “write to the sunshine,” as he describes it, not because he likes the current administration. It comes from a more personal place—a place found in Berlin, Germany, where he’s spent the majority of the last three years. Here Mould would draw inspiration from the new environments.
The theme, the cathartic vocals, and the strings all amount to Mould’s catchiest, grabbiest album since Copper Blue, the acclaimed 1992 debut of his trio Sugar. Back then, Mould’s work in Hüsker Dü, as a solo artist, and in Sugar helped define the sound of guitar rock in the alternative age. Sunshine Rock finds him doing it again for an era that has ostensibly eschewed rock.
Sunshine Rock follows the 2016 release of Patch the Sky, which was hailed by Rolling Stone as “conjuring the ecstatic rage of his earlier bands for a grim new era” and as “tight, sharp musings on aging, fizzled relationships and death that are melodic enough to sound like songs of victory” by the New York Times. Patch the Sky completed a trilogy including its 2014 predecessor Beauty & Ruin and 2012’s Silver Age.
The cliché that circulated after the 2016 election foretold a new artistic golden age: Art-ists would transform their anger and anxiety into era-defining works of dissent in the face of authoritarianism.
Yet Bob Mould calls his new album Sunshine Rock.
It’s not because Mould—whose face belongs on the Mount Rushmore of alternative music—likes the current administration. His decision to “write to the sunshine,” as he describes it, comes from a more personal place – a place found in Berlin, Germany, where he’s spent the majority of the last three years. Here Mould would draw inspira-tion from the new environments.
“Almost four years ago, I made plans for an extended break,” Mould explains. “I started spending time in Berlin in 2015, found an apartment in 2016, and became a resident in 2017. My time in Berlin has been a life changing experience. The winter days are long and dark, but when the sun comes back, all spirits lift.”