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Planets Are Blasted

Boston Spaceships

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Album Review

Much of Robert Pollard's recorded output of 2008 suggested the man was going to slow down and focus on quality control rather than cranking out as much product as possible, which seemed to be his modus operandi during the first few years of his post-Guided by Voices career. But The Planets Are Blasted, the second album from his group Boston Spaceships, has emerged a mere six months after their debut, Brown Submarine, so it seems the man is back in prolific mode. But Pollard also has a pair of worthwhile collaborators in John Moen (of the Decemberists) and Chris Slusarenko (of Sprinkler and the Takeovers), and though Boston Spaceships' sonic identity clearly comes from Pollard's songwriting, The Planets Are Blasted is every bit as satisfying as the band's debut, and at its best this hits the same giddy melodic heights as GBV's golden era but with a grander sense of scale and drama. Songs like "Queen of Stormy Weather" and "Canned Food Demons" could pass for classic-era GBV in dim light, but most of these tunes carry more muscle and heft than Pollard's usual miniature pop constructs, and Moen and Slusarenko (along with a handful of guests, including ex-GBV guitarist Greg Demos and fellow Decemberist Chris Funk) give this music the aural grandeur of the '70s arena rock and prog rock Pollard clearly loves without its crippling pretension or pomposity. "UFO Love Letters" and "Keep Me Down" nearly beat the Who at their own game, and "Headache Revolution" offers a vague notion of what King Crimson might have been like if they were any fun. And The Planets Are Blasted is that rare Pollard project that leaves you wanting more — the 14 songs here each sound complete and fully realized, and at under 35 minutes, this set doesn't run out of ideas before it draws to a close. (Pollard sings up a storm, too.) So maybe Robert Pollard didn't need a different work ethic — he just needed a good band in his corner, and Boston Spaceships is helping to reestablish him as one of the most satisfying talents in indie rock.

Biography

Formed: June, 2008

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

After disbanding Guided by Voices late in 2004, the ever prolific and busy Robert Pollard worked on solo projects, set up his own Guided by Voices label, and nursed a few GBV odds and ends through the pipeline before starting a new band, Boston Spaceships, with Chris Slusarenko (the Takeovers, Sprinkler) and John Moen (the Decemberists, the Dharma Bums). The band played only seventeen live shows total during their tenure, existing primarily as a recording project except for a single short tour in...
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Planets Are Blasted, Boston Spaceships
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