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coverpic flag US - Ohio - Full Moon 63 - 11/30/01

Robert Pollard and His Soft Rock Renegades
Choreographed Man of War

I sort of go back and forth with Ohio's Robert Pollard, consistently amazed by his songwriting abilities, but almost just as consistently annoyed by his desire to release 80-100 songs a year under different project names. This album marks the 4th album from Mr. Pollard in 2001. Puh! With his main band Guided By Voices, Robert Pollard has been releasing some of the most essential, not to mention weird albums of the last 10 years. GbV had their humble beginnings in the mid-80s and 10 years of existence as a local beer-drinking collective columinated with just about the 3 finest records of the 90s, Bee Thousand (1994), Alien Lanes (1995), and Under The Bushes Under The Stars (1996). A few years later GbV quit the Matador label. Matador wouldn't let Pollard release all the stuff he wanted to. With TVT Records he got a "release whatever you want on your private label, Rockathon" deal. This has resulted in more GbV sideprojects, Robert Pollard solo albums and what not.

Choreographed Man of War is the 14th release in the Fading Captain series on Rockathon label. Robert Pollard has done worse than this, but certainly also better. It's not close the the mid-90s songs or most of the Robert Pollard/GbV back-catalogue. But how could they be? In my humble opinion Robert Pollard put out the strongest set of songs from any artist in the 90s. Here the songs are haunting both lyrically and melodically, yet still maintain the capacity to rock when need be. If you've been searching the record stores for any Pollard related item the last years (like some of us in fact have) you'll love this album as well. No other songwriter is as consistent or trusted by their fans at this point in their career as Pollard is. But if you're new to GbV or only have Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes, you should rather check out the earlier Pollard solo stuff and leave this one for the lost souls.

PS! 2001 has already seen another Robert Pollard album. Along with Todd Tobias and Tim Tobias (GbV bass master), Robert Pollard makes up the project Circus Devils. The title of the album is Ringworm Interiors.

Copyright © 2001 Karl Morten Dahl e-mail address

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