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Robert Pollard: Standard Gargoyle Decisions


Robert Pollard: Standard Gargoyle Decisions

Label:Merge
Format:Album
Media:CD
Release Date:2007
Genre:Recording

By Ed Schrader | Posted 10/17/2007

Robert Pollard doesn't shy away from his characteristic rapid-fire sound collage on Standard Gargoyle Decisions. Released simultaneously with Coast to Coast Carpet of Love--Pollard is wont to unload massive amounts of material in a short span--Decisions delivers a multicolored fist of varying daydreams, and, as always, the former Guided by Voices frontman keeps things either right around the three-minute mark, or far below. Pollard's strength lies with the latter.

On "Come Here Beautiful," in a span just shy of two minutes, we're given a bare-bones acoustic tale about a man's loyalty to a mannequin "woman of dreams." "Butcher Man," another micro-gem, features nearly cartoonish Tom Waits-like vocal stylings paired with an irresistibly rugged six-string strut. "Here Comes Garcia" is a quick macho declaration, bulldozing brashly through just over a minute of triumphant choppy guitars and lyrics like "you be who you wanna be/ but you can't beat me." Most songs that dare to swim in three-minute territory, such as "Shadow Ports," "Folded Claws," and "Feel Not Crushed," are crowded with busy arrangements that feel forced and exasperated, leaving otherwise interesting lyrics to sound as though they're just filling space.

At times Pollard breaks this pattern: "Pill Gone Girl" opens like a bizarre Split Enz track, beautifully disassembling into a sedate wizardry of intermittent rivets of punchy pomp guitar riffs balanced with jangled flourishes. Yet, altogether, the songs here feel weighty and disjointed, like a poorly organized Jack FM station for Robert Pollard fans.

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