Robert Pollard: Of Course You Are

Robert Pollard –the guy is one hell of a musician. Having fronted Guided by Voices and been involved in several other musical endeavors, Pollard has decades of musical experience and tons of album releases. With his determination to release great new music, Pollard’s first release of 2016, Of Course You Are is already here. Needless to say, it’s not too shabby.

As a kneejerk reaction; when you first listen to Of Course You Are, you can’t help but think, “Oh damn, he’s good.” Robert Pollard’s long history with music and massive catalogue of releases give him quite the resume, and it often shows. Of Course You Are is a series of twelve eclectic and catchy tunes. Pollard often sings with ambition and better yet the instrumental lines seem extremely carefully crafted. As a result, each song has a distinct style that it really embodies –it evokes a certain kind of enjoyment, a concentrated dose of rock, punk, prog rock –it’s all there.

The benefit of having a varied style is that everyone will like something. Of Course You Are presents one particular favorite, “Collision Daycare.” The song plays out like an early punk rock band. It’s a definitive twist in the otherwise tame and accessible rock album. It’s a nice twist. But equally valuable, and in complete contrast, “Losing It,” the second to last track, features some very psychedelic, shoegazey vibes. With long drawn out tones and distant acoustic guitar, it all sort of adds up into a Spacemen 3-esque jam session.  Sadly, while all of these unique songs really exemplify Pollard’s creativity, they also feel a little half baked.

Of Course You Are is unfortunately a little underwhelming. The album isn’t bad, it just doesn’t feature anything really special. Even if Pollard is a virtuoso, Of Course You Are just lacks any stellar blockbusters. It’s like listening to writer’s block. Even more accessible songs such as, “I Can Illustrate,” only illustrate that it has been done before. Pollard doesn’t add anything fresh and his efforts this album sound like a constant 70%. It’s good, it’s just not great.

If you’re willing to settle for a little less, and just need a solid new rock album, then Robert Pollard’s Of Course You Are can still hold up. Pollard’s skill as a musician, shines through in various melodies –his vocals often providing a strong addition. Furthermore, the often eclectic leaps in style add to. Even if one song isn’t quite for you, Of Coures You Are will inevitably have something for you.

With spring just around the corner, maybe it’s good to bust out a new rock album. Robert Pollard’s Of Course You Are is a decent addition with plenty of songs to make their way onto the ‘Sunny-Day’ playlist. Pollard’s passionate vocals and the album’s handcrafted rock instrumentation will keep you jamming.

Rating: 7.0/10

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