Robert Pollard Space City Kicks(Guided By Voices, Inc.) Buy it from Insound
This is Robert Pollard at his bombastic best. His 2010 outings tended to hint at being moderately over-wrought, but Space City Kicks feels like a genuine return to form. The man’s best albums are always scattershot adventures, and his latest is no exception.
This, the latest in a long line of releases, typifies the Pollard experience — you'll find 18 expected-length tracks packed with guitars and some brilliant — if sometimes half-baked — ideas. It’s as catchy as you like: Robert Pollard’s always shown a penchant for crafting earworms, and Space City Kicks is up there with some of his best. Sure, it’s not a second Bee Thousand or Alien Lanes, but it’s inimitable top-shelf indie rock all the same.
And as you'd expect, not every track comes off as well as it could, but when it's the 137th album (or something like that) from the veritable king of short-form indie rock, it's hard to complain. Space City Kicks is the first post-GBV-reunion-tour album (his two from 2010 were released before the October tour,) and it seems a revitalized Pollard has made his way to the fore as a result. He’s got that infamous verve and swagger in droves, and there’s no hiding it now.
Space City Kicks isn't cavernous in depth, it's not overtly brave, and it's not a turning point toward new horizons for Mr. Pollard. It’s not like it needs to be: Robert Pollard is revered in indie circles, and he doesn't need to do much to maintain that. There are plenty of ideas flitted about in the usually careless manner of the GBV maestro, but they're disposed of in such a timely fashion that it's hard to tell which moves are serious and which are mere flights of fancy.
It doesn't much matter, because it's all over in a couple minutes anyway, and dwelling on a Robert Pollard track is ultimately futile — but futile as it may be, digging into Robert Pollard is an invigorating bit of fun, and it’s what’s made the man a success. By all accounts, Space City Kicks is more of exactly that.18 January, 2011 - 13:17 — Matt Montgomery