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Robert Pollard CD Review

| January 25, 2006 | 0 Comments

Robert Pollard
From A Compound Eye
(Merge)



Pollard arrives with his first post-Guided By Voices package.

The romantic version is this “solo” gig perpetuates the rock ‘n’ roll dream playing out in Bob Pollard’s head. The stage where he did flying kicks also carried a band that was his and was assembled in whatever formation, playing songs he released in whatever stage of completion suited him. Now he has reached the phase where it’s time to ditch the group and go it alone.

Compound needs a tagline like that, because at its core is just another retro-GBV attack, along the lines of *Universal Truths & Cycles*’s and the stamping out of the sparkly production from the TVT years. It’s certainly a more coherent collection than his first solo outing, 1996’s Not In My Airforce, and being divided into the sides of a two-LP set, gives the feel of a more purposeful sequencing. (We’re also told FACE — acronym unintended? — is Pollard’s return to guitar playing, though to me he’s as distinctive as the varieties of Miller beer.)

Count among the gems the hopelessly hopeful “Love Is Stronger Than Witchcraft,” the Byrdsy “U.S. Mustard Company,” and imminently quotable lines like the “I like the sound of breaking glass/’cuz it’s too loud” raison d’etre. Unfortunately *Compound* does not signal a new era. A good half the songs are of the sort he has been filling albums and EPs with for years. He’s still playing to his devotees in the front row, and if nobody else gets it? Fuck ’em. If you didn’t like GBV, you’re not going to like ol’ Bob now. And if this is your intro to him and all, don’t worry, the whole story’s a lot like an afternoon feature on Comedy Central: familiar jokes, no plot, a likable cast, and you can miss the beginning without actually missing a thing.

6

— Steve Forstneger

Appearing: March 31 at Metro in Chicago.

Category: Spins, Weekly

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