Robert Pollard: Honey Locust Honky Tonk
Going by the title and the album cover, you’d be forgiven for assuming that Robert Pollard’s latest endeavor is Robert Pollard’s departure into country. The prolific Guided By Voices frontman sticks pretty close to his tried and true formula of quick, quirky indie rock songs, but there’s no question that the style works damn well for him.
There’s no gentle easing into this record. “He Requested Things” storms right out of the gate with insistent guitar and a demand for attention. There’s no need to warm up when the 17-track collection’s longest song is still only three and a half minutes long. In this sense, Pollard is a genius for keeping things interesting: such brevity leaves no room for boredom. Sometimes you don’t need even a minute to get across a point like “I Have to Drink.”
The longer songs should not be discounted though. “Strange and Pretty Day” revolves around a simplistic but captivating piano line. “Who Buries the Undertaker” features Pollard’s signature cleverness with questions like, “Who marries the cake maker?” Perhaps the closest Pollard comes to country is the acoustic-driven “I Killed a Man Who Looks Like You,” with lyrics that are vaguely menacing in a Johnny Cash sort of way.
Sometimes you need your music to be quick, punchy, and a bit irreverent. As always, Robert Pollard delivers on all these fronts without getting sloppy. Pollard is a machine in putting out good rock. Check this out.