ROBERT POLLARD: The Crawling Distance (Album Review)
Blessed are fans of Robert Pollard. For more than 20 years, first as leader of Guided by Voices — a rotating cast of musicians he alone presided over — and later as a solo artist, Pollard has released music with stunning frequency.
Most of this work has been of uniform quality — a dank, dense brand of psychedelic power-pop that, while beloved by hard-core followers, often makes for frustrating listening.
“The Crawling Distance,” Pollard’s umpteenth disc since officially going solo in 2004, offers more of what listeners have come to expect. Recalling accessible GBV albums such as “Under the Bushes, Under the Stars,” the 10-song collection is at once hummable and impenetrable — a pleasant half-hour that leaves almost no impression.
If Pollard’s overall sound has become predictable, his individual songs have not. All feature strange twists and turns, and just as easily as he can rock a Neanderthal beat and guitar riff, as on “Cave Zone,” he can manage a song like “Imaginary Queen Ann,” wherein the aching chord progression heightens feelings only hinted at in the lyrics.
Pollard ends the album with a spoken-word bit, thanking fans for their support and urging them, “Please, come again.” As anyone hooked on this stuff can attest, that won’t be a problem: There’s nowhere else to go.