Robert Pollard From a Compound Eye

While Bob Pollard has always been pumping things out with his name attached to it, this release is getting more ballyhoo as it’s the first one since the break-up (or natural death) of the quasi-legendary Guided By Voices. Well, with 26 tracks that run over an hour, it’s guaranteed to have some iffy bits, but when Eye is good, it’s up there with GBV, and when it’s bad, well, it’s down there with the worst of GBV. Released from the tightness of the GBV formula, Bob is in more relaxed form and it shows on the inspired pop of "U.S. Mustard Company” and ""Love is Stronger than Witchcraft,” where his aging voice fits perfectly. Of course, for every fantastic slice of songwriting like "I’m a Widow,” you get some nonsensical piece of noise like "Kensington Cradle.” However, it’s the little vignettes that also pique your attention as the charmingly titled instrumental, "Cock of the Rainbow” somehow works, and "Denied” demands to be appreciated live and drunk. There are treasures and false idols galore on this packed disc, but at least it dispels everyone’s worst fear with a simple declaration: Bob Pollard is still kicking ass and taking names. (Merge)