Lifeguards: Waving at the Astronauts

Wavings at the Astronauts
(Ernest Jenning Record Co.)

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Few artists can boast of being as prolific as Robert Pollard, who, at just over 50 years of age, has written and registered more than a thousand songs. He’s mainly known for his work as a solo artist and as a member of Guided By Voices, but side projects abound. With Lifeguards, he teams up with fellow Guided By Voices collaborator Doug Gillard for a bit of the lighthearted, quick-punching rock that has been his defining characteristic as a musician for decades. The lyrics don’t always make sense, and there may not actually be some deeper meaning behind some verses, but it always sounds and feels catchy enough that you want to loop Waving at the Astronauts for another listen.

The first half of the album is consistent in its quality, but it’s the second where the group really hits its stride. “Sexless Auto” is a piece of dirty post-punk that any garage band could rightfully envy. “Trip the Web” is insanely catchy and danceable, with a standout guitar part that sounds like blues flirting with Southern rock. The spidery riff on “Keep It In Orbit” makes the track sound as otherworldly as the title indicates. Throw in the clattering, frenetic closer, “What Am I,” and you have yet another quirky classic from some of Ohio’s finest.

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About Casey Hicks

Casey Hicks toils her daylight hours away in an office high above Manhattan in order to afford nights of passionately scribbling. The first song she remembers ever hearing is "Lola" by the Kinks. She thinks this explains a lot.
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