It's not all that surprising that Tobin Sprout's solo debut, Carnival Boy, sounds remarkably similar to Guided by Voices. Sprout was as responsible for GBV's lo-fi, jangly art-rock as Robert Pollard, helping push his partner toward the group's distinctive sound. Like Under the Bushes Under the Stars, the GBV album that was released six months prior to Sprout's album, Carnival Boy has a brighter sound than the band's early records, due to slightly more sophisticated recording equipment and a more unified sense of purpose. Even though Sprout has a bit more focus than Pollard, Carnival Boy is still hit-and-miss, featuring as many rough pop gems as outright duds, but it does confirm that he is a talented songwriter in his own right.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine