Release Date: Jan 18, 2011
Record label: Guided by Voices
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
This is Robert Pollard at his bombastic best. His 2010 outings tended to hint at being moderately over-wrought, but Space City Kicks feels like a genuine return to form. The man’s best albums are always scattershot adventures, and his latest is no exception. This, the latest in a long line of releases, typifies the Pollard experience — you'll find 18 expected-length tracks packed with guitars and some brilliant — if sometimes half-baked — ideas.
Robert Pollard was clearly a big prog rock fan at some point in his life. Dig his convoluted lyrics, surreal album and song titles, and the low-budget but high-concept collages that adorn his album covers, and it's not hard to imagine that the man was deeply smitten with the spacy stuff once upon a time. Pollard is either unwilling or unable to write songs long enough to let prog's tricky musical structures or epic-scale lyrical conceits seep very deeply into his music, but on 2011's Space City Kicks, he comes noticeably closer than usual to embracing the arty side of his musical personality.
Space City Kicks, former Guided by Voices frontman Robert Pollard's first solo effort of 2011, sports some of the lovelier ballads of Pollard's career; it also finds him uttering "don't fist me when I'm down." It opens with "Mr. Fantastic Must Die", a kind of Who-does-Motörhead ruckus trip; five minutes later there's "I Wanna Be Your Man in the Moon", which comes off a bit like Something Else-era Kinks doing a Who cover of their own. At times, Space City Kicks is raucous, borderline rude; at others, it's quite lovely and ornate, the most sonically lush Pollard release in some time.
By now, you know the drill. If you like Robert Pollard, you'll go out and buy Space City Kicks. If you don't, this is yet another in a long string of Pollard albums you'll ignore. But here's the deal. Following on the heels of the Guided By Voices reunion tour and the first of probably a baker's ….
If you’ve been keeping an eye on Robert Pollard as of late, you know a few things. First, you know he’s not slowing down his level of production, so monumental that “prolific” really isn’t an adequate adjective. Secondly, you know his level of consistently great pop records has a reached a level not seen since Guided by Voices were at their peak.
Review Summary: come with me and count the years Pollard has broken my silly heart.We know how this goes. Some of us are Guided By Voices fanatics, nodding righteously to records far and beyond Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes, lacking the backbone to stop Pollard from wobbling along the stage, beer in hand, six 2010 records on the merch table. That is, those of us in denial.