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Friday, Feb. 3, 2006

LISTENING POST: CD REVIEWS

Robert Pollard "From A Compound Eye"


During two decades with Guided By Voices, Robert Pollard became one of the strongest songwriters on the American underground rock scene. With his uncanny knack of turning out pieces of pop perfection, Pollard and his roving cast of backing musicians were lauded by critics and fans who remain baffled that wider commercial success somehow eluded GBV. Although he put the GBV moniker to rest in 2004, Pollard's pen is far from drying up.

Boasting 26 tracks, his first post-GBV full-length, "From A Compound Eye," sees the prolific musician expanding his sonic palette, but still giving nods to his storied past. Interweaving excellent vintage AM radio pop-rock staples with bits of psych and prog-inspired goodness, "Compound Eye" is Pollard's most consistent work in years. There are some cuts that miss the mark, but that is one of Pollard's unique calling cards. His love of experimenting with song structures and disdain for self-editing has allowed a fair share of questionable material to surface. In the end, though, the sheer quantity of near-brilliant cuts always outweighs the handful of less than stellar ones.

"Compound Eye" is stacked with well-produced, melodic tracks and a few lo-fi gems to appease fans. "U.S. Mustard Company" and the hook-laden "Dancing Girls and Dancing Men" are among the standouts, the latter in particular being likely to join Pollard's ever-expanding list of should-have-been hits.



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