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Robert Pollard: Waved Out


Robert Pollard

Album: Waved Out
Label: Matador

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With Bob Pollard the undisputed leader—and pretty much the only constant—of Guided By Voices, the appearance of his occasional solo albums seems almost redundant. But like the Bryan Ferry solo work released almost concurrently with Roxy Music's albums in the '70s, Pollard's solo albums give him a chance to try out stuff that wouldn't necessarily fit on Guided By Voices' releases. With rumors surfacing (again) that the next, possibly Ric Ocasek-produced album will feature a much more polished sound than heard on GBV's past work, the always-prolific Pollard probably needs the outlet more than ever. Considerably more cohesive than 1996's Not In My Airforce, which was largely an interesting collection of scraps and false starts, Waved Out feels like a completely thought-out album. Though more melancholy than usual, and notable for the prominence of synthesizers and drum machines in a couple of spots, "Make Use," "Subspace Biographies," "Artificial Light," and most of Waved Out's other tracks offer fine examples of the sort of well-crafted pop songs that have made Pollard's name. Only the annoying "Showbiz Opera Waltz" really breaks the mood of things, but then, followers of Pollard and GBV have come to expect things to be hit-or-miss. Waved Out is more hit than miss, and while those new to his work should probably start elsewhere—almost anything from 1992's Propeller on will do—this enjoyable set will more than suffice until the next GBV album appears.