The question that needs to be asked is.... Does Robert Pollard ever sleep?, or at least watch T.V.?
After the amazing legacy that was Guided by Voices whose whole recorded output would strain the sturdiest of record shelves, Mr Pollard decided to end the band just as it seemed they were on a critical and commercial breakthrough after years of endlessly recording and gigging.
Since then their seems to be no let up when it comes releases, this year alone this is his second solo release to go with three other recordings made under other pseudonyms and collaborations of which the highlight was teaming up with power pop maestro Tommy keene, a modern day classic to rival the best of G.B.V.
"Normal Happiness" is a much sharper pop orientated recording than his last solo release "From a Compound eye" from the opening "The Accidental texas who" it has that immediate trademark sound Pollard sound a skewed version equal parts G.B.V. and The Who. "Whispering Whip" is a delight both strange and straight ahead pop.
Most of the songs clock in around the two minute mark and display a much immediate leaner feel throughout, "Boxing about" has the kind of mid-tempo beauty that a band like R.E.M. wish they could still write. And still it goes on "Serious Birdwoman" is also a must hear, with it's stop start jerkiness complete with strong hooks.
"I feel gone again" slows down the pace with what is probably one of the rare Pollard love songs to date, then it's back to business with the 60's 70's jangle of "Rhoda Rhoda" surely a candidate for a future single but then again with Mr P it's probably just a throwaway gem, other bands would surely die for hooks like these.
"Pegasus glue factory" and "Top of my game" are acoustic oddities both interesting and precise and the hilariously named "Join the Eagles" is another one of those little strange psychedelic tunes he endlessly knocks off, all dreamy and strangely strange.
Normal Happiness" is another in a long line of Robert Pollard releases that on first plays have the ability to confuse and dare i say it even annoy the devoted fan, but then you put it down forget about it for a few days and then when you put it back on it's like one of those old classic albums that time forgot.
Reviewed by Tony Bartolo |