Bob Mould’s latest blast of power-pop savagery contains four different songs with “sun” in the title, and not a single one of them is about the sun blowing up and killing us all. The title track, “Sunny Love Song,” “Camp Sunshine” and “Western Sunset” shine a light on a more optimistic, sometimes maybe almost kind of happy Mould, and the music barrels along as if someone fired it out of a cannon.
If the idea of a cheerful Bob Mould seems concerning, don’t worry: Not every sunbeam here is lemonade and ice cream. Mould is still plenty dour on “What Do You Want Me To Do,” barking out terse lyrics to an oh-so-hooky melody over a pulverizing combination of guitars and drums. “Sin King” rides a big, heavy riff as he takes to task the people who seemed rational until they threw their support to the clowns “sinking our democracy.” Mould doesn’t spare himself, brooding over a tendency to get stuck in his own head on “Lost Faith.” He wonders at his “sense of misplaced rage” on “The Final Years,” which chugs along under an uncharacteristic synth part floating above overdriven guitar and a big, round bass sound.
Misplaced? Well, maybe. Mould doesn’t always seem like the easiest guy to get close to. But given how much of that rage he’s channeled into his music over the years, and how much that music means to people, it seems like he’s put it in exactly the right place. “Sunshine Rock” is no exception.