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Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Bob Mould - Life and Times

I'd got my music all planned out for two weeks in Menorca. I thought the Cafe Cuba compilation would fit the atmosphere perfectly, Pendulum to liven things up and Top of the World 81 as a safe back up plan. As it happens it was one of the albums I'd popped on my godforsaken Blackberry because I'd been avoiding listening to it that ended up encapsulating the holiday experience. The unlikely hero was Bob Mould with 'Life and Times'.

I liked Husker Du, but really struggled with Bob's early solo albums especially the depressing dirge classic 'Black Sheets of Rain' and I never bothered with any of his later offerings. With hindsight that may have been a mistake, because even though 'Life and Times' is hardly a chuckle a minute, it still has some moments of magic hidden away in that dark atmosphere. It's a more open, stripped back affair with non of the breathlessness of 'Land Speed Record', but possibly just as much passion. I listened to it most mornings in the baking heat of the Balearic summer and somehow it fitted the bill perfectly.

There are no real stormers, but the album is greater than the sum of its parts. 'Life and Times' is a folky, introspective opener, 'MM17' harks back to Husker Du and chugs along quite pleasantly, and 'Bad Blood Better' again dips into the dark recesses of Mould's mind, but still provides some elements of hope. My favourite is the subtle, grown up sing-a-long of 'The Beach', closely followed by the fun dirge-fest of 'Lifetime'.

All in all it's a great album and I'm glad I gave him a second chance. I'm not sure if I like the sound of some of his 'dance' inspired albums, but a bit of something different is usually a good thing. If you like bald, beardy, middle aged popsters with a hint of dark depression then this is the album for you.


1 comment:

  1. 'Black Sheets of Rain' is a cracking album. Depressing, but I wouldn't taint it with PJ Harveyness. I've been listening to 'The Last Dog and Pony Show' recently and ven though it's not a patch on his Husker Du stuff or 'Black Sheets', it's not too bad. Possibly a tad too close to his Sugar offerings for comfort though.