Much has been said about the pace and fecundity of Robert Pollard in these pages and elsewhere so I’ll try to refrain from quipping about not being able to keep up. Some choose to embrace it and buy everything, some choose to ignore everything while others try to cherry pick the best ones…. What are you gonna do? Buy every one? Every other one? One? None? I’ve come to terms with Pollard’s output by focusing on his non-solo albums. Capricious maybe, but a guy has to be weed them out somehow. I think it’s been working out pretty good so far. The Boston Spaceships albums have all been high quality, the Lifeguards album from a couple of months ago was good and Mars Classroom may be the his best record so far this year. Mars Classroom is a collaboration with Gary Waleik of Big Dipper and Volcano Sun and Robert Beeman of Pell Mell.
The songs on The New Theory of Everything are more fleshed out and subtle than many of Pollard’s records. That may be due to his working with Gary Waleik. Pollard said that he was intimidated and blown away by Waleik’s songs. You could probably classify this as powerpop. New Theory kicks off the record with its huge hook and chorus and there’s no let down after that. Man.Wine.Power! rips with its corkscrew riff, and then things slow down for a moment on There Never Was a Sea of Love, but it’s not a let down, just a one of the prettiest songs on the record. That’s just the beginning, corkers like Pre-Med’s a Trip, and Dr. Newpile continue to fly by, and he saves the best nostalgia drenched heart string puller to the end with Wish You Were Young. Pollard brings his A material to match Waleik’s challenge. He even incorporates parthenogenesis into a chorus, something I haven’t seen done since Shriekback’s Nemesis. This is classic stuff and it rivals his much vaunted other other other band.
Be on the look out for another Pollard solo album and a Boston Spaceships double album this summer. The guy sweats songs. Also, for a blast from the past, Guided By Voices will be at Sasquatch this weekend, they play Monday on the Sasquatch stage.
Order up your copy of The New Theory of Everything vinyl, CD or the convenient mp3.