While the rockers of 2019 bemoaned the Trumpian nightmare, only Bob Mould foresaw that those were the good times.
His Sunshine Rock album of last year was shamelessly upbeat and optimistic, the angriest, gnarliest track he wrote for it, American Crisis, held back for not fitting the mood: ‘This American crisis keeps me wide awake at night’. History turned, and now it forms the thematic centrepiece of a fourteenth solo album far more in tune with these desperate times.
Dolorous acoustic opener Heart On My Sleeve likens the rising tides of climate change to the onrushing swells of disease and American fascism, then Mould’s trademark Sugar-rush wall of grunge strikes up for tracks worrying for the future (Next Generation), foretelling darker days ahead (Forecast Of Rain) or just out to take your eyebrows off (Fireball).
The tone lightens marginally for the relationship rampages of the second half, with Baby Needs A Cookie bordering on pop melodies and Leather Dreams revelling in a sultry churn with a hint of S&M, but Blue Hearts is ideal fodder for smashing in the news channel to.