Thursday, April 26, 2012

Reviewed :: Robert Pollard - Mouseman Cloud

We've been inactive for far too long and although life keeps coming at us at 100 miles per hour, so it would seem. We recently returned to The Ash Gray Proclamation HQ to restart the engines, our first order of business was to write about an album that's been between our ears over the past several weeks. On the heels of Guided By Voices' Lets Go Eat The Factory which marked the recorded return of GBV's classic line up and album we wrote about here. It should surprise absolutely no one that Factory had been out for a mere 2 weeks before Robert Pollard announced that he would release the 17 track solo LP, Mouseman Cloud in the spring. Well, spring sprung and Pollard delivered the new set of inspired pop stomps and off kilter prog rock. The album kicks off with Obvious #1, a sparkling exercise and jangle pop, only giving way to one of the sets strongest tracks, Picnic Drums, complete with a reprise chorus, "come back, do you hear the wild oak crack", guaranteed to be stuck on your brain for at least 3 days. The prog tinged Mothers Milk and Magnets adds some depth to the set, with chugging guitars and interesting instrumentation courtesy of producer and frequent collaborator Todd Tobias. The albums strongest moments come along when Pollard is playing to his formidable strengths of writing engaging and inspired three minute pop songs which he seems to be able to do in his sleep. Like on Kid Marine's (1999) The Big Make-Over or Waved Out's (1998) People Are Leaving, Science Magazine manages to encompass melancholy, wit, and charm with a timeless and catchy as hell effect. Mouseman Cloud is destined to be glossed over due to the next GBV album coming down the pike, but discerning fans should spend time with the album eclectic and varied song cycle.