Release Date: May 26, 2015
Record label: Guided by Voices
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Pop
Like clockwork since 2006, Robert Pollard has been releasing two albums a year under his own name. Even when Guided By Voices reanimated and became a touring concern, his work - be it quality or quantity - didn’t suffer a jot. Last year, however, a curious and scary thing happened - the clock seemed to break, and there wasn't a Pollard album to be seen.
Now that we're once again living in a post-Guided by Voices era, after Robert Pollard unceremoniously pulled the plug on his fabled indie rock band in September 2014, Pollard's solo albums are no longer side projects but his flagship items, and 2015's Faulty Superheroes suggests he's started taking his work just a bit more seriously. Faulty Superheroes doesn't diverge much at all from the standard template of a Robert Pollard album -- lots of hooky pop tunes with a rock & roll core and an arty bent, fused to playfully surreal lyrics that suggest a Midwestern spin on prog rock -- but it's not sloppy or tossed off as some of his solo albums have been, and with Kevin March behind the drums, the songs sound tough and precise at the same time (and precision has long been a rare commodity in Pollard's solo work). Faulty Superheroes also has the full-bodied sound of 1997 to 2004 era Guided by Voices (aka the Doug Gillard years), just rowdy enough to sound like bar-based rock but performed with a commitment to quality, and if this doesn't match the full-on rock excellence of Isolation Drills or Earthquake Glue, it at least sounds like that's what Pollard had in mind.
Faulty Superheroes, Robert Pollard’s first solo album since the latest dissolution of Guided By Voices, is yet another fascinating chapter in one of rock ’n’ roll’s strangest trips. After toiling away in relative obscurity in the late ’80s, Pollard led GBV to bigger things in the ’90s, though the band’s prodigious output never brought his goal of mega-stardom. Like Jack Nicholson’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest character, he still gave it hell and emerged with integrity intact, and he split the band in 2004 after an extensive farewell tour.