Robert Pollard

Coast to Coast Carpet of Love

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A mere two years after releasing his first post-Guided by Voices solo album, Robert Pollard is starting to sound as if he's already nostalgic for the good old days, and 2007's Coast to Coast Carpet of Love (released the same day as another Pollard solo set, Standard Gargoyle Decisions) recalls the more polished moments of GBV's late period works, especially Do the Collapse and Universal Truths and Cycles. While electric guitars dominate Coast to Coast Carpet of Love, this set finds Pollard firmly in pop song mode, with hooky melodies up front at all times and the frontman showing off his best neo-British Invasion vocal mannerisms. However, while this album comes closer to what made GBV memorable than much of Pollard's solo catalog in terms of songwriting, it also confirms the lingering suspicion that this guy needs a band. Coast to Coast Carpet of Love was recorded with Pollard handling lead vocals and some guitars, and Todd Tobias covering all other instruments (as well as engineering and production), and the results lack the fire and energy that would transform these 16 songs into something special. The lack of interplay between musicians and the absence of anyone to prod Pollard into a more aggressive and emotive performance makes this disc sound like a set of polished demos that are waiting to be transformed into a living, breathing rock & roll record; not much is missing besides a certain ineffable energy and commitment, but it's enough to make this the sort of record that will make you want to spin the GBV "hits" compilation Human Amusements at Hourly Rates rather than play Coast to Coast Carpet of Love again.

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