Robert Pollard

Honey Locust Honky Tonk

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Robert Pollard's 19th solo outing and second 2013 release (GBV's English Little League bests Honey Locust Honky Tonk by three months) continues in the vein of 2012's Jack Sells the Cow by offering up a fragmented set that looks verbose on paper (17 tracks) but yields a light cache at just over a half-hour long. Frontloaded with a pair of cuts ("He Requested Things," and "Circus Green Machine") that sound like post-Tommy fever dreams, Pollard's fetish for all things Townshend peppers a great many of the proceedings, especially the more abbreviated numbers (of which there are more than usual) like "Suit Minus the Middle" and "Shielding Whatever Needs You." That said, sifting through Pollard's pop-fueled stream of consciousness hardly makes Jack a dull boy, as his acumen for the genre is almost as impressive as his productivity within it. After all, he's not making these records for newbies, as evidenced by the fact that the album's four best songs arrive in its last act. The wistful, Document-era R.E.M.-inspired "I Killed a Man Who Looks Like You" sets the scene for the one-two punch of the anthemic "Real Fun Is No One's Monopoly" and the propulsive, Pixies-esque "It Disappears in the Least Likely Hands (We May Never Not Know)," both of which manage to locate that sweet spot between soulful and surreal that has always served as the point of conversion for Pollard/GBV fanatics. The measured, modest, and melancholy "Airs" applies the finishing touches, wrapping up another flight of fancy from of one rock & roll's most illustrious, real-time dreamers.

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