Tobin Sprout

Moonflower Plastic (Welcome to My Wigwam)

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Shortly after the release of his solo debut, Carnival Boy, Tobin Sprout officially left Guided by Voices to concentrate on his solo career. The cryptically titled Moonflower Plastic (Welcome to My Wigwam) was the first album he released after leaving the band, and unlike its predecessor, it established Sprout as an entity separate from Guided by Voices. Where Carnival Boy was essentially a GBV album in miniature, Moonflower Plastic works from that band's signature lo-fi art-pop foundation and opens up the formula. The songs here are richer and more fully realized. They take time to make their point, and are supported by more detailed arrangements; several tracks even feature piano, and Sprout's voice is richer than before. Similarly, his songwriting is prettier and more affecting. He hasn't abandoned the lo-fi aesthetic -- there are still layers of hiss, and the recording is charmingly amateurish -- but he has invested it with an emotional sincerity that rivals Lou Barlow. Moonflower Plastic still has some slow spots, but the best moments find Sprout coming into his own as a songwriter and musician.

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