Entertainment » Music

Life and Times

by Brian Callaghan
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Monday Apr 13, 2009
Life and Times

Thirty years after the founding of his groundbreaking grunge band, Husker Du, singer songwriter Bob Mould is still making terrific rock music.

The 48 year-old openly-gay rocker, who was also in the band, Sugar, and has been making solo albums for the past two decades, has released a new disc, Life and Times, that chronicles the wonderful world of heartbreak and broken relationships.

Despite its title, Mould claims it's not autobiographical, but an examination of the universal themes of failed relationships and lost love.

Like many songs on the album, the title track starts off the album like a slow Richard Thompson acoustic ballad before speeding it up, adding electric guitar, strings and drums during its rocking second half.

"The Breach" is another such tune, starting off like a Tom Petty ballad, with its moody, underplayed instrumentation, before building in speed and intensity.

"City Lights (Days Go By)" begins as a rocker but relies more heavily on the acoustic guitars than the overpowering electric guitars Mould is known for. It sounds almost like a hard rocking song by the Byrds.

"MM 17" is a flat out rocker, which you can easily imagine blaring live during a concert. The subsequent "Argos" is one of the fastest songs on the disc, both in speed and duration. It crams more rock into two minutes than most tunes twice its length.

It's nice to see middle age isn't slowing down Mould, who calls it a punk song he "wrote for his theoretical gay punk rock band."

Mould plays all of the instruments on the album, except for drums, which were done by Jon Wurster of Superchunk. On "Argos" Wurster gets a work-out.

The excellent "Bad Blood Better" sounds like a slow, moody Nine Inch Nails ballad, while the equally good "Wasted World" with its addictive melody sounds very much like a classic Sugar track, especially in its vocal style.

Strangely, "Spiraling Down" is kind of a gloomy title for one of the sunniest sounding rockers on the album.

The catchy, but bleak, first single off the album, "I'm Sorry Baby, But You Can't Stand in my Light Anymore" is a dark break-up song in which Mould explains he tried to fix an ex who is nonetheless still broken, and perhaps incapable of change. "I always find the broken ones, what does that say about me? Maybe I'm the broken one."

"Lifetime" is a strange, low-key song that sounds like it's being performed by a band playing in the tunnels of a British subway station late at night. With its echoes and subtlety, it's a good closing track for the album, ending things on an eerie, ethereal level.

The ten songs on the album clock in at a mere 36 minutes, which gives them more immediacy and less bloat than many current albums which feel obligated to fill all 73 minutes.

If you're a Bob Mould fan, or just like good, edgy rock music, most likely you'll get a kick out of "Life and Times."

Plus it'll give you something to talk about when you run into him at IML in May or at a leather bar near you.

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