Thursday, January 9, 2014

Blazing Gentlemen (2013)

Blazing Gentlemen
(2013, Guided by Voices Inc.)

The second full-length Pollard solo LP of 2013 finds Uncle Bob retaining his footing in overall solid territory. His third quality LP in a row? Perhaps, one might argue. I won't argue it. I'll declare it. A shade below the consistency of it's predecessor, Honey Locust Honky Tonk, Blazing Gentlemen is, nonetheless, a worthy follow-up. The general vibe of the album is a rather hum-drum and gloomy at times, where are his last two records focused more on the hooks and propulsion. Still, Blazing Gentlemen is one of those records that begins to grab at you after a couple spins. 

Media Man HypeGuitars!!! Yes, guitars open this second Pollard solo offering of 2013. And then, full band!!! Slam, pound. But, that's about all that's happening. Fairly drab, middle of the road, hookless solo Pollard here. Far from awful, but potential killer opening track comes off fairly average.

Blazing Gentlemen- Moody downer rock with a pretty killer, subtle hook, and solid stream of vocals verses. Worthy to be the title track for the LP. Or should I say, the LP is worthy of said title track? I don't know. Oh yeah, dig that repetitive sped up, cock-rock ending. But man those lyrics are lame.

Red Flag Down-4 Snoozy, stoner rock, cymbal smasher with fairly breezy, and somewhat psych Pollard vocal delivery. Repetitive and hypnotic. Pollard should do a whole LP like this. RIGHT? Right?... right..

Storm Center Level Seven- Sounds like Earthquake Glue era GBV. Hurky-jerky beat complete with snippets of vocal melodies we've heard in the GBV cannon before. Short, sweet, and weird. 

Return Of The Drums- Released as one A-side of the 7'' single a month earlier. This song isn't so much an A-side as an Eh-side. Yeah, it's got drums. It's also called "Return of the Drums" Yeeesh. Pretty short, but mainly swampy, dude rock song. 

Piccadilly Man- Moody, proggy guitar picking with instrumental swelling as Pollard goes all avant-poet storyteller on us. Aims for the so-short-it's-great charm of old, but misses.

Professional Goose Trainer- Guitar driven, mid-tempo slammer. Pretty humdrum. Kind of a phoned-in but somewhat solid Pollard cut.

Extra Fools' Day- Toes the line between choppy Pollard solo tune and a tune about to break into some solid early '00s GBV tune. Ultimately, it's short and interesting, but a bit muddled.

1000 Royalty Street- Busy, urgent, paranoid. Rumbling bass, clanging guitar, drums smash away. Repeated listens make this a solid close out to Side A. 

My Museum Needs An Elevator- 3 The second side of the double A-side 7'' Return of the Drums. Whole song revolves around 2 parts. Part A: potential guitar driven rock-pop. Part B: Stoned, pounding anthem. Kind of wish this were just the latter. Song might become more infectious than you expected over time.

Tonight's The Rodeo- 5 First single released off the LP a couple months prior. Under the 2 minutes and the poppiest thing on the record. Oozing with sentimental melancholy, and everything that make Pollard's songwriting seem so damn easy. 

Tea People- 4 Just drab bopping. We're all bopping through these boring verses. Seems kinda like a drab road, until the over the top chorus. In this chorus, backing Pollard literally sings "Bop Bop Bop," and it's catchy as shit, and then you realize the whole thing is only like 30 seconds, and it wasn't even a chorus at all. Sign me up!

Faking The Boy Scouts- 4 Great guitar line. Recalls more early '00s GBV, that in turn was harking back to mid-'90s GBV. Get it? No. At any rate. Catchy as hell.

Triple Secvenus- Driving. Down stroked guitars. Someone's pissed? Yes! Killer opening. But then... SILENCE. No, when it kicks in it's still the same song. And it's fucking great. Man, are these all the good songs left off Half Smiles of the Decomposed?

This Place Has Everything- 4 Pretty pale opening with guitar strums with cool Pollard monologue. Breaks into melancholy, and overtly sentimental second part. Song that relies on feel more than structure.

Lips Of Joy- 2 What a boring way to close out a moody, rocking record. This song is rocking, but it's so humdrum, and uneventful after a radical b-side. Man. Also, this song is called "Lips of Joy." Why? 


  1. I think this album could have been called "Return of the Guitars." Very guitar driven album, which I like. Not as much variety as my favorite Pollard lp's though.

  2. Yeah not to mention there's already a fucking song called Lips of Steel on Sandbox. Come on, Pollard.

  3. oh hell, i'd give "return of the drums" a 4.

  4. i'm listening to this now while working, and "return of the drums" definitely made me take notice. my favorite track so far.

  5. "tea people" is a bit too repetitive for my tastes. "faking the boy scouts" comes as a relief.