Release Date: Oct 10, 2006
Record label: Merge
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
After putting Guided by Voices to rest at the end of 2004, Robert Pollard launched his "official" solo career with the epic From a Compound Eye in early 2006; however, the wildly prolific Pollard waited a mere ten months to release a follow-up (which was recorded sometime in 2005), and Normal Happiness finds him working in noticeably more modest circumstances. Like From a Compound Eye, Pollard made Normal Happiness with longtime collaborator Todd Tobias, who produced the album and played nearly all the instruments, ably building the tracks around Pollard's vocals and guitar. However, while Pollard was trying to make the Great Rock Double Album with Compound Eye, Normal Happiness is more in the tradition of his best work with GBV -- sixteen short songs (only one over three minutes, seven under two), with plenty of hooks, lots of guitar and no more fuss than necessary.
The former Ohio schoolteacher Robert Pollard is one of pop's great cults. For 20 years, under a variety of names (notably Guided By Voices), he's been releasing two or three albums a year, with all the quality-control issues that suggests. Normal Happiness, his second "proper" solo album since folding Guided By Voices, offers a new, consistent Pollard.