Twenty years ago, Bob Mould launched his solo career with a record drastically different from the music he'd made before. After becoming a punk icon with hardcore-turned-pop-punk legends Husker Du, Mould went soft with the introspective "Workbook," more of a pop and folk record that established him as singer-songwriter, not that he needed to be established as anything after Husker Du's run. He'd return to rock and bounce among various genres, but tonight's show at Birchmere -- billed as an acoustic set and falling on the release date of his eight solo LP -- seems to be a celebration of the "Workbook" aesthetic.
Early reviews of "Life and Times" (I haven't heard it yet) are calling the new album another reflective work, but not a folky affair. Instead, it's being branded as some of Mould's best pop, with moments of his love for electronica and room for both balladry and muscle.
Whether it's punk, college rock, power pop, dance music or folk, as long as it's got his legendary awkwardly powerful voice, it's gold.