Continuing The Creative Upswing
Robert Pollard has always been a methodical obfuscator no matter how productive. Sometimes it’s endearing or brilliant; other times itâ€šÃ„Ã´s not so great. By the time Pollard dissolved his band, Guided By Voices in late 2004, many fans had long since disappeared. GBV did, however, leave a thoroughly formidable, although erratic, legacy behind. He now releases From A Compound Eye, a wonderfully crafted display of Pollard continuing the creative upswing that GBV was on up to their demise. From A Compound Eye continues the GBV trend set by Alien Lanes and Bee Thousand. It’s a myriad of songs, heavy on hooks and little to no solidarity while sounding reminiscent of Isolation Drills. Here, Pollard’s writing is still business as usual. Some tracks are fully realized, while others end before the listener can settle in. This 26-song set does overstay its welcome while yielding some great Pollard material in the process. “Dancing Girls and Dancing Men” is as sunny as guitar pop gets while “Love is Stronger Than Witchcraft” and “The Numbered Head” are the heaviest of the album. What sets this apart from anything of GBV is the thorough and inviting production by Todd Tobias. Pollard’s songwriting may have the typical ups and downs, but all of these songs have a complete sound with plenty of sonic detail that listeners can get lost in.
Is it all worth it? Yes. From A Compound Eye shows that Robert Pollard is still here though Guided By Voices may be extinct. Ergo, any of his endeavors could be a mixed bag though not here. The album may be a bit long for most listeners, but itâ€šÃ„Ã´s thoroughly enjoyable.