Bob Mould’s musical journey ends up right back where he started on Beauty & Ruin, and that’s a very good thing. The erstwhile Husker Du and Sugar frontman has taken a number of different directions since Husker Du broke through as a post-hardcore band capable of epic songcraft, inspiring pretty much all of alternative and indie rock to follow. Husker Du gave way to the more alternative/power-pop leaning Sugar and solo releases that bounced between dark acoustic material, electrified rock ‘n’ roll and electro pop inspired by classic gay disco. Beauty & Ruin is instantly heavy, on shoegazing opener “Low Season,” which could almost be mistaken for Sugar’s one-time Creation labelmates, Swervedriver, and the next song, “Little Glass Pill,” starts acoustically and hazily, a red herring. Beauty & Ruin soon reveals itself to be a powerful restatement of Mould’s original sound, as Mould tears into “Little Glass Pill’s” awesome post-hardcore riffs like a kid who’s been waiting to be let out for recess. “I Don’t Know You Anymore” (the title of which even sounds like a Husker Du song) reminds us how tuneful Mould is between tearing shit up. Longtime fans will get a kick out of songs like “Kid With Crooked Face,” with its heart-stopping pace and refreshing rawness, and “Hey Mr. Grey,” which sounds like an outtake from Husker Du’s underrated Flip Your Wig. But even with all this Husker Du talk, Beauty & Ruin doesn’t feel like a retread. How could it? The sound Mould helped inspire is alive and well, and it sounds more like a reclaiming than anything. Mould hasn’t sounded this alive or comfortable in his own skin in some time, continuing the line set by 2012’s excellent return to form, Silver Age. It’s great to hear Mould sound so passionate again.