Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Waved Out (1998)

Waved Out
(1998, Matador Records)

Returning to Matador Records for his sophomore solo outing, this would be the last solo effort before Pollard jumped ship and started putting out solo/side-projects at a delightfully nauseating pace. Unlike its predecessor, 1998's Waved Out is a more consistent LP in dynamics, and pacing. However, it lacks the spontaneity, and short, pop gems that made Not In My Airforce so great . In lieu of snippet, lo-fi offerings, the LP consists of longer tracks, running the gamut of the rock realm (something Pollard would become known for on his solo offerings); a balance between wizardry pop, solid indie rock, noise rock, and moody dirges, Waved Out is a  fine followup in the cannon, although not without a few head-scratching moments.

Make Use4 After the lo-fi fragmented affair of Not In My Airforce, Waved Out kicks things off with a genuine studio recording, much fuller, bigger. Also present, some of the proggier elements Pollard would begin to saturate into his solo efforts. “Make Use” is a slow moving piece, accented by pounding tempos, and delicately picked minor chords. The chorus is extremely massive, and much invited after a verse that kind of feels like its crawling.

Vibration in the Woods3 Shorter song with simple guitar stabs over lo-fi drum hits in the background. Creepyily and easily catchy.

Just Say the Word-  2 A slow moving song that’s about the darkest Pollard had ever sounded up to this point. Was he wearing his wizard cloak for this recording? Be warned; annoying sound effects in the background will most likely REALLY get to you.

Subspace Biographies5 Steady, pop-prog song with great guitar leads, and huge choruses that rank among some of the best of Pollard’s solo output. Not to be missed.  Add bonus points for the lyric “Stoned Comedian Ringo.” Only you, Bob. Only you.

Caught Wages Again-3  Bizarre, woodsy lo-fi folk. The kind of folk suitable for the Sci-fi channel, if you will. Cool little home recorded gem. Not one to be put on repeat necessarily, but still a nice one to revisit.

Waved Out5 Holy SHIT! So simple. So fucking good. One minute plus, uptempo two chord stomper, mindnumbingly good ripped jeans, garage rock gem.

Whiskey Ships3 Early '00s GBV sounding track, that’s both familiar in its tone and delivery. The drawback, out of place, upwardly mobile guitar riffs and more unwelcome noise pieces popping in and out of the track that feel arbitrary. 

Wrinkled Ghost3 Lo-fi and easy pop song with effectively charming layered keyboard parts. 

Artificial Light2 Depressing, gently picked guitar meets a vocal track that doesn’t go anywhere. Put this in the dustbin of the history of zzz's.

People Are Leaving3 Schmaltzy, piano and ride cymbal lounge type number with dual Pollard vocals that mash two different vocal lines on top of each other. Sounds like a subpar McCartney tune, but pretty goddamn catchy after a few listens. “Gift to every naked fat baby” line is the definition of torture though, and opposite of aforementioned "stoned comedian Ringo" line.

Steeple of Knives2  "Hard rocker” that comes off sounding far too annoyingly hokey and forgettable.

Rumbling Joker1  Moody song at a snail’s crawl. A bit of bad-Bowie meets ‘70s lounge rock. Very cold…………………………………… Sorry nodded off there.

Showbiz Opera Walrus1 HAHAHAHA  Bob Pollard does Tom Waits in space? “Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite,” animal noises thrown in for good measure. Kinda like this, but c'mon! Good God!

Pick Seeds From My Skull4 Eerily distant and haunting, but in a great way. A downcast piece with acoustic guitar and lazily strung together melodies, and awesome lyrics. Sounds like a Rob Crow solo song.

Second Step Next Language3 Lengthy closer sounds like it’s broadcast through a broken transistor radio, so that fucking rules.  Fuzzy guitars meander along, as noise begins to pop up. The track begins to fall into a surreal ambient ditty.


  1. Such an amazing record. You really nailed the description of some of its most elusive tracks (Waved Out and Pick Seeds), but I would give 5 to Make Use and Whiskey Ships (which are as good as Subspace) and 4 to Vibrations, Caught Waves, Wrinkled Ghosts, People Are Leaving, Rumbling Joker (a 1, really?) and Second Step Next Language (which is really close to a 5).

    Showbiz Opera Walrus is the only skipper. Mediocre tracks such as Just Say the Word or Steeple of Knives flow very nicely as well.

  2. I really don't listen to this album often enough. Fucking masterpiece. One of ones I take for granted cos it's not as immediately catchy as "not in my airforce." I'm listening to "Second Step..." right now. I like that surreal ambient ditty. just when it risks going on a bit too long, that guitar comes out of nowhere and makes the tune.