Bob Mould’s post-Hüsker Dü career is marked by many twists and turns, including a two-album stint as the frontman of Sugar and a critically panned dance/rock effort, Modulate.
The title “Life and Times” sounds retrospective and the music within fits, evoking a retrospective look at his 30-year output.
“Spiraling Down” and the title track feel lifted off a Sugar record, “Argos” hints at a speedier, punkier Hüsker Dü past and album closer “Lifetime” coasts on a brooding new-wave keyboard sound that shows he learned something with Modulate.
Many of the songs are about love and loss, including “Bad Blood Better,” which is the only true dud. Mould’s voice is overemotive, the orchestration oversells it and its lyrical frankness is no surprise given the source. “I’m Sorry, Baby, But You Can’t Stand in My Light Any More” sounds like a power pop leftover from the ’90s and that means everything good and bad that comes with it.
As Mould’s career enters its fourth decade, it will be interesting to see if he continues in the direction of “Life and Times” or takes yet another turn.
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.