Renowned for fronting Husker Du in the 1980s and Sugar in the `90s, singer/guitarist Bob Mould became considerably less prolific in the 21st century, issuing solo albums only every few years. Upon signing to the lauded Anti label, however, the college-rock icon issued the well-received DISTRICT LINE, and then followed just over a year later with this 2009 outing. Released two full decades after his solo debut, WORKBOOK, LIFE AND TIMES largely nods to that watershed record, as best evinced on the jangly, pensive "I'm Sorry, Baby, But You Can't Stand in My Light Anymore," but it never seems bogged down by Mould's past, making its one of his most satisfying post-Sugar albums.
Rolling Stone (p.68) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he buzz-saw guitars on 'MM 17' are insistent and grooving..."
Spin (p.94) - "[Mould] cans still write melodies that make the medicine go down, and ultimately, that's his redemption."
Alternative Press (p.121) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "Bob Mould has made his most straightforward album yet....The simple, muscular rock and folk are matched in directness by lyrics that keep returning to troubled relationships..."
Pitchfork (Website) - "[F]rom its melodies to its sheen, the album represents Mould at his most Sugar-y, the disc's easily digestible power-pop fueled by overdriven guitar and break-up regrets yet tempered by Mould's ruminative vocals."
Clash (magazine) (p.113) - "LIFE AND TIMES finds Mould in reflective mode....When it clicks, this is another addition to a sterling back catalogue."
Record Collector (magazine) (p.88) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "It's a ninth solo album that sounds like a debut, which, after 30 years in alternative music, is some achievement."