16 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Robert Pollard, once of Guided By Voices, never stops writing or recording songs. This collaboration, with former GBV members, brothers Todd and Tim Tobias, is their seventh album together and it’s still a small slice of Pollard’s grand oeuvre. At this point, there are no real surprises. Sure, certain tunes lean towards ‘60s power pop, others towards a modest ‘70s prog rock, but all are led by Pollard’s Anglo-charmed lead vocals and a sense that melodies forever swim in Pollard’s head alongside non-sequiturs and brief moments of thoughtful clarity. “Witness Hill” and “Every Moment Flame On” start things with his usual energized chug, but “Ships from Prison to Prison” slows things for a contemplative ballad highlighted by a simple keyboard line that haunts the acoustic guitars and begins a trip into slower, weirder terrain. “Bad Baby Blue” uses a Valium-laced groove to attain its power-pop command. “Before It Walks” trudges through a pulsing field. “Letters from a Witch” recalls a flower stolen from ‘60s folk troubadour Donovan’s garden. “Arizona Blacktop Company” and “Hot Water Wine” follow with stoned, phased-out ruminations. Pollard keeps it weird.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Robert Pollard, once of Guided By Voices, never stops writing or recording songs. This collaboration, with former GBV members, brothers Todd and Tim Tobias, is their seventh album together and it’s still a small slice of Pollard’s grand oeuvre. At this point, there are no real surprises. Sure, certain tunes lean towards ‘60s power pop, others towards a modest ‘70s prog rock, but all are led by Pollard’s Anglo-charmed lead vocals and a sense that melodies forever swim in Pollard’s head alongside non-sequiturs and brief moments of thoughtful clarity. “Witness Hill” and “Every Moment Flame On” start things with his usual energized chug, but “Ships from Prison to Prison” slows things for a contemplative ballad highlighted by a simple keyboard line that haunts the acoustic guitars and begins a trip into slower, weirder terrain. “Bad Baby Blue” uses a Valium-laced groove to attain its power-pop command. “Before It Walks” trudges through a pulsing field. “Letters from a Witch” recalls a flower stolen from ‘60s folk troubadour Donovan’s garden. “Arizona Blacktop Company” and “Hot Water Wine” follow with stoned, phased-out ruminations. Pollard keeps it weird.

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