Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Kid Marine (1999)

Kid Marine
(1999, Fading Captain Series)

WELCOME!!!.. to the birth of The Fading Captain Series. Yes, the first official, and gloriously named record label from the heart and mind of Uncle Bob. Kid Marine, Pollard's third solo LP, would mark the first of 44 Pollard related releases to see the light of day on this "series," which came to an end in 2007.

Kid Marine was released less than five months after his last solo effort Waved Out on Matador Records. Kid Marine, and the introduction of the Fading Captain Series, ushered in a new wave of an unexpected, and seemingly bottomless pit of Pollard material. Gone was the middle man, for better or worse, of the outside label mogul. The gates were open, and the songs were to become plentiful from 1999 to, well, who knows when.

As a whole, Kid Marine is a mixed bag. Upon release, reviews seems to sway towards the negative and general confusion as the revered songsmith king had perhaps finally gone off his rocker. In the end, Kid Marine has aged well in the cannon of releases. No doubt, it has paved the way for the anything-goes Pollard package, but also, a decent chunk of the "anything" is worth hearing.

Submarine Teams­- 4 Schizophrenic jibber jabber flutters and opens the track and never cuts out in the background. Why? Because Pollard's losing his marbles and it couldn't be better. However, the rest of this track is pretty great. Shit, even at 5 minutes!!! Mid-tempo, well written rock tune with infectious melodies, and pensive bridges.

Flings of the Waistcoat Crowd- 4 Acoustic, doubled vocal offering. Reminiscent of Propeller or Alien Lanes material. Simple and effective. Feels like a track that would have fit nicely in the middle of any GBV album from this period.

The Big Make-Over- 3 Repetitive guitar riff holds this breezy track together, but it doesn’t really take off at any point. Lazy, less exciting take on “Dayton, 19-Something- and 5”?

Men Who Create Fright- 2 Violin scrapes and reverbed vocals act as never ending intro. Buzz saw guitars ring out for the rest of the track. Epic proportions abound, right into brick walls.

Television Prison- 2 Holy hell. Turn on VH1 Classics because I think this songs on there right now. Early ‘80s chugging number with tacked-on bad attitude. High pitched scream in the middle for good measure. Solo into the instrumental outro is the coolest part of the song and THAT gets a 4.

Strictly Comedy-4 Weird accordion like keyboard backs the track that actually works. Catchy, with cool seesaw guitar riff throughout the song.  Sign me up!

Far-Out Crops- 2 Guitar strum and vocal opening breaks into back and forth guitar riff.  The falsetto delivery of “Far Out Crops” is cringe inducing in an otherwise good song. Vocal shat and bad decisions knock it down a peg.

Living Upside Down- 2 Autumnal moodiness with vocals over guitar strums and synth swells in the background for the first half. This eventually shifts and devolves to proggy guitar blimps and burps. Forgettable.

Snatch Candy- 2 Reclined guitar strummer reminiscent of some mid-‘90s radio rock. Pollard’s vocals seem to be shifting in an out of whatever melodies he’s reaching for. They make snooze-buttons for songs like this, you know? Actually, that would be the dumbest fucking invention ever. Who would use that?

White Gloves Come Off- 4 Simplistic acoustic song reminiscent of many a GBV openings.  Eerily pretty. Haunting? Sure, but happily so? I don't know. It's a grower, for sure.

Enjoy Jerusalem!- 3 Moody, hypnotic tick-tock of the grandfather clock guitar part. The surreal lyrics “The cake maker never fails” will one day be tattooed on my back. Am I serious? I hope so. Certainly not one for the ages,  but a throwaway that, in this case, works.

You Can’t Hold Your Women- 2 Opens with what sounds like a kid in a remedial piano class trying to record his progress after day two. Hushed track eventually blows open into plodding one snoozer. Not of much note.

Town of Mirrors- 2 Quiet, start-stop rhythmic jolts played on guitar make up the first part of the track, in a surreal confessional sort of way. Second half explodes into a sonic blast, while Pollard lyrically repeats “Mutilation.” End scene.

Powerblessings- 4 Simple demo quality song that’s pretty catchy with a, dare I say, dreamy feel. However, the outdated, ‘80s synth is out of place and altogether unnecessary. Still, a solid outing here.

Island Crimes- 3 Song for the post hangover. Slow, sparse, subtly uplifting, and contemplative. A decent and lengthy closer.


  1. This album fascinates me. I love "The Big Makeover." Kind of seems like a concept album, although I'm not sure what the concept living in Ohio can drive you crazy maybe?

  2. I love this album, first thing I looked at after I found the blog. I think Kid Marine would be a good soundtrack for the film of my life flashing before my eyes when I die.

  3. This is my favourite record of all-time. It is the perfect summation of all that is great in Pollard, I would give 5 to every fucking track, the whole is cohesive as fuck, man, I love your blog but the way you rate so low some of these gems makes me insane. Two examples: Far Out Crops and Town of Mirrors are absolute masterpieces. Oh well.

  4. Seems like this album is a big favourite of most Bob fans - apart from our host! Anyway, I'm no exception to the rule. The production is clean and powerful without being slick, Demos/Macpherson is a great rhythm section, Bob plays all the guitars (always a good thing). Even the more throwaway tracks are good, which is hardly true of a lot of his solo albums. The two worst tracks are together on side two, if you feel like skipping them. All in all, it comes highly recommended!

  5. listened to side 1 last night, and side 2 this morning. it holds up. cohesive, moody masterpiece.