Robert Pollard – Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love & Standard Gargoyle Decisions

It’s pretty much become expected around here that I’ll rave and drool about a man named Robert Pollard. You’re probably sick of it, but that’s fine. One day, if you haven’t already, you’ll joyously wake to the fact that this prolific man of countless projects is truly an unstoppable genius. 

Some day in the future, his music will finally be lauded everywhere for the beauty that it is (even more so than it is already appreciated). Box sets will be loving constructed, writers will wax poetic about his work, newly-uncovered tapes (of which there are surely thousands by now) will be released and analyzed by rabid fans like archaeologists study bones. Young people who aren’t even born yet today will be making tribute albums to how influential he was for them in their formative years, and lighting candles in perpetual vigil at the foot of his (inevitable) display at the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.

Trust me.

So imagine my glee when it was recently announced that Mr. Pollard would be releasing not one but TWO new full-length albums on the same day! Holy Awesomeness, Batman! It was Christmas in October!

I immediately wrote away to my one and only Pollard dealer, Stu at the Vinyl Diner in Saskatoon, to have him send me a copy of each record as soon as they arrived in his store (and not one minute later). Stu got them to me in record time (pun intended) and I have been in a state of pure bliss ever since. Thanks heaps, Stu!

And now to the albums themselves. I couldn’t choose which one I wanted to hear first, so I simply closed my eyes, shuffled the discs a few times in my hands and grabbed one at random, coming up with Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love. Oh man, it is awesome!

There have been many times during his long career when Mr. Pollard has gone way out beyond the marked swimming areas to plunge into uncharted and unsafe waters with his songs. Sometimes this results in oddball, patience-testing ditties that only the super-fans could love. But Coast is a cohesive, highly-listenable record. All of the classic hooks are here, folded neatly into the lyrical leaps and little moments of freak-out that have long been part and parcel of everything the man does. This could very well have been a Guided By Voices record (and I know how that sounds when I say that, and no, I will not stop pining for them). But if the band was still playing today, a lot of these songs might’ve fit them very well indeed.

I played it through twice – once to listen only to the music, the second to try to match the words to the tunes. This little project served me well, because not only did the album make sense when I deconstructed it and then glued it back together in my mind in that way, but I got to listen to the whole thing twice in a short time!

Hands down, I highly and completely recommend plunking down your hard-earned for a copy of Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love. It is a thing of beauty.

So then, without a moment’s hesitation, I moved with glee into Standard Gargoyle Decisions. Once again, the man outdoes himself. And I’m not just saying that… it’s true!

The focus here is all about getting yer ya-ya’s out. This record moves toward a rougher, more raw sound than on parts of Coast. There are so many songs here that just rawk unabashedly and without looking back. It’s heavier, bad-ass and fuzzy, yet still totally sounding like only he can sound. The songs here show you just how much Pollard brings to the table.

Listening to this record a second time, I can totally imagine these songs being awesome in concert. They just have that feel to them. If he were to show up and play this record from start to finish as a show, it’d be a classic must-see event.

So.

I won’t pick song favourites from either release. It wouldn’t do the scope of these monumental releases, chock full of the best rock out there, any justice at all. Just know that all the songs are brilliant.

And for you, Grasshopper? Own them both. It’s as simple as that.

 

Track Listings:

Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love

01 Our Gaze
02 Count Us In
03 Exactly What Words Mean
04 Current Desperation (Angels Speak Of Nothing)
05 Dumb Lady
06 Rud Fins
07 Customer’s Throat
08 Miles Under The Skin
09 Penumbra
10 Slow Hamilton
11 Look Is What You Have
12 I Clap For Strangers
13 Life Of A Wife
14 Youth Leagues
15 When We Were Slaves
16 Nicely Now

Standard Gargoyle Decisions

01 The Killers
02 Pill Gone Girl
03 Hero Blows The Revolution
04 Psycho-Inertia
05 Shadow Port
06 Lay Me Down
07 Butcher Man
08 Motion Sickness Ghosts
09 I In The World
10 Here Comes Garcia
11 The Island Lobby
12 Folded Claws
13 Feel Not Crushed
14 Accusations
15 Don’t Trust Anybody
16 Come Here Beautiful
17 Spider Eyes

Put yer words here:

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