Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Speak Kindly Of Your Volunteer Fire Department (1999)

Speak Kindly Of Your Volunteer Fire Department
(1999, Fading Captain Series) 

1999 found Cobra Verde guitarist, Doug Gillard, in the midst of the late '90s Guided by Voices roster as lead guitarist, and all around string virtuoso this far east of Columbus.  This potential Pollard solo release marks the first properly annotated collaboration between Pollard and Gillard.  This comes 4 years prior to the two striking out again on '03's Lifeguards LP, Mist King Urth.  The brilliantly named LP strikes up a few brilliant moments, but sadly, nothing more.

Frequent Weaver Who Burns- 4  Light, British-tinged pop.  Acoustic driven, and cheery.  Melodies flow like a saccharine river. Just don’t listen to the lyrics.  Pretty ridiculous there.

Soul Train College Policeman-  3  Moody and deserted sounding.  Sparse, minor-chords fiddled with over buried drum bursts.

Pop Zeus- 5  Irresistibly good lead guitar lines that completely make the song. Driving, pogo-pop.  Hell of a collaboration.  Get on your fucking rough and yell this at the postman or neighborhood dogwalker, because it’s that good.

Slick as Snails- 2  Long, run-of-the-mill, small stadium rock schmoozer. Almost epic, but can’t seem to get out of it’s mid-fi way. Always boarders on having a good hook, but always seems to fall short.

Do Something Real- 2  Post-punk tinged pop with starts and stops, and awkward, fairly annoying chorus.  Crunchy, industrial sounding. File under forgettable.

Port Authority- 2  Layered guitars and vocals make up this weird, over-long track. Poor guitar effects that meander on too long while tumbling drums bang away in unison.

Soft Smoke­-  2 Acoustic chord strums while Pollard talk-sings some crazy avant-garbage.  Under a minute of forgettable poetry. Spills into the even more surreal…

Same Things- 3  Space, prog vocals echo into the recesses of your brain over creepily plucked, darkened acoustic patterns. Moody, and effective.

And I Don’t (So Now I Do)- 4  Mid-tempo, acoustic driven GBV sounding song. Sounds like it could have been amped up enough for Isolation Drills. Decent, lone sung melody in the chorus.  Vintage radio-pop “ohhhs and ahhhs” included at no extra charge.

Tight Globes-  4 Unmemorable guitar plam-muting, with Pete Townsend grand strums, and rolling drums. Eventually breaks into full-on late era GBV style jamming.  Pollard pens a great vocal melody over this fairly forgettable music giving the song some pop-credibility.

I Get Rid of You- 1  Tremolo shellacked guitars and heroin-rock, guitar noodling.  Dark and dripping bad dream in the land of Prog.

Life is Beautiful- 2 Open room vocal sound is amazing!  However, this song is not.  Verses seem to show promise, but the rest of the song is Pollard singing along to every weird guitar rhythm that’s hit. The sullen, airy “Life is Beautiful” part is pretty but also kind of unnervingly sappy.

Messiahs- 2 The lead line is so silly that it’s pretty awesome.  Sounds like a warped kids toy. But beyond that, the song is dismissible. Not much in the way of melody, song goes nowhere, and it sounds unmixed.

Larger Massachusetts- 3  Electric guitar with Pollard vocals.  Folky, pop with small melodic vocals lines and decent lyrics to make it fairly effective.

And My Unit Moves-  Piano pounds away as Pollard deeply croons.  Seems like they ran out of other instruments to carry the last two tracks of this thing.  Mildly catchy, mildly depressing, mildly good.

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