Thursday, June 2, 2011

Reviewed :: Robert Pollard - Lord of The Birdcage

For his second solo and fourth overall release of 2011, Robert Pollard went to a collection of previously penned poems, with assistance from frequent collaborator and producer , Todd Tobias and transformed them into a cohesive LP filled with haunting acoustics, frantic power pop, and lush balladry. Having already released high caliber recordings with Mars Classroom (Gary Waliek of Big Dipper) Lifeguards, (former GBV guitarist Doug Gillard), and his own Space City Kicks this year, Pollard is operating with dare I say, surgical focus. [Apologies for the pun readers and uncle Bob, I couldn't resist working that in -Ed.]

Perhaps it was the description of the album in the press release that lessened my expectations, however I wasn't prepared for Lord of The Birdcage to be this good. The album opens with Smashed Middle Finger, at first a gentle guitar strummer, but only to give way to a fist pumping Who-esque romp with a killer chorus "I got a Smashed Middle Finger, I want to give to the world". Elsewhere Pollard delivers earnest and durable melodies. Dunce Codex shares qualities with some of Pollard's best songs, however that never distracts from the infectious and utterly addicting track. Like most releases from Robert Pollard, Lord of The Birdcage rewards the listener on repeated listens, especially on the prog punk of You Can't Challenge Forward Progress, the glam stomper Ribbon of Fat and the gorgeous acoustic ballad, In A Circle. But there's an argument to be made that Pollard saves his best songs to serve as album closers, as is the case with the power pop gem, Ash Ript Telecopter.

It can be daunting to keep up with the Über prolific release schedule of Robert Pollard, but when he continues to record and release consistently rich and engaging material like that found on Lord of The Birdcage, it continues to be (at least for this reviewer), an incredibly rewarding exorcise.

Lord of The Birdcage will be released on June 7th via GBV, Inc. and is currently getting the pre-release stream treatment over at Spinner.

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