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Album Review

During his days in Guided by Voices, Robert Pollard established an informal two-tier system for his record releases — his "real" albums were released through an established label (usually Matador, lately Merge since GBV's breakup), while his more esoteric or home-brewed recordings would surface through one of his tiny boutique labels, such as Rockathon or Fading Captain. Prom Is Coming is Pollard's latest outlet for his seemingly endless well of pop songs, but PIC's first release, a seven-song EP called Silverfish Trivia, suggests the gulf between his official product and his more informal material is narrowing considerably. Silverfish Trivia is one of Pollard's most ambitious recent projects, complete with lush layers of keyboards and actual string arrangements, and while fans have grown accustomed to Pollard's second-string projects sounding tossed together, this is as coherent and powerful as anything he's released since retiring the Guided by Voices banner. Musically, Silverfish Trivia plays like a concept piece — while there doesn't appear to be a unifying narrative outlook (given Pollard's cryptic lyrical style, it's a bit hard to say), the prog-influenced melodies flow together beautifully, the instrumental passages that bookend and punctuate the piece create a sense of movements rather than individual tunes, and Todd Tobias's production balances Pollard's impulsive songwriting techniques with a sound that builds his pocket-sized pop tunes into something truly epochal. Hopefully Pollard and Tobias will keep Silverfish Trivia in mind next time they go into the studio to make a full-length album; this is a compelling and thoroughly engaging piece of music that plays to Pollard's strengths while demonstrating he still has new fields to explore.


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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Silverfish Trivia - EP, Robert Pollard
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