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We All Got Out of the Army

Robert Pollard

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Album Review

If you like your power pop delivered in brief, crunchy, punky, quirkily hooky blasts, and if you've therefore been following the career of the jaw-droppingly prolific Robert Pollard (Guided by Voices, Boston Spaceships, Circus Devils, Cosmos), then you already know that you need to own this, the tenth album released on his Guided by Voices, Inc. label since its inception in 2008. It features 17 tracks and a total program length of about 38 minutes, which means that the average track length is just over two minutes. With a voice somewhere between David Bowie and Matthew Sweet, and the same apparently tortured relationship to punk rock that Elvis Costello had to Memphis soul, Pollard turns in an album that sounds something like a post-punk version of Get Happy!, which is actually high praise: he opens the album with the blissfully blistering "Silk Rotor," a power pop Master's thesis that will make every hair on your head stand up. "Your Rate Will Never Go Up" manages to make a 6/8 rhythm compelling, "Post-Hydrate Update" sounds like the Beatles on crank, "Rice Train" is charmingly awkward (while "Wild Girl," a crappy-sounding acoustic demo, is less charmingly so), and "Talking Dogs" is splay-footed and gawky, yet wonderful for all that. There are moments that feel a bit contrived in their weirdness, but even they feel like an integral part of what turns out to be a goofily brilliant whole.

Biography

Born: 31 October 1957 in Dayton, OH

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the things that made Guided by Voices' rise from underground curios to indie superstars in the early '90s so noteworthy was that vocalist/guitarist Robert Pollard was also a teacher, an uncommon occupation for rock & roll idols. Pollard was born on October 31, 1957, in Dayton, Ohio. As a child, he was groomed by his father to become a professional athlete, and pitched a no-hitter for his high school baseball team, but in college he realized that music meant more to him than sports. Pollard...
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We All Got Out of the Army, Robert Pollard
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