Review ·

Last October, when former Guided By Voices leader Robert Pollard released two albums on the same day (the lackluster Coast to Coast Carpet of Love and the mostly dreadful Standard Gargoyle Decisions), he made the latest (and possibly worst) in a long line of concessions of quantity over quality. The joint albums' 33 tracks featured only one or two stunners, and 30 tracks of middling material that Pollard has topped on many of his other 1,000 BMI-registered songs.

 

But he's announced that Robert Pollard is off to Business, his thirteenth solo album (roughly), will be his only solo release in 2008. The implied notion is that Off to Business is a truly vital album, one that will be treasured by his fans, because, after all, it’s the only disc he’s putting out this year. Too bad the album is more inessential than ever, but at least it’s only 10 tracks, not as stuffed with filler as Pollard’s past albums. 

 

Off to Business, is a departure of sorts; the album clocks in at 35 minutes (a lot of Pollard’s releases are 70 minutes), with most of the tracks hitting the epic length of four minutes (epic for Pollard, the master of the 90-second song). Off to Business is also Pollard’s first foray into label ownership (he’s releasing it on his newly formed Guided By Voices Inc. after four albums in two years for Merge) and the album finds Pollard taking stock of where he is in his life (and career) as of 2008.

 

On opener “The Original Heart,” he waxes poetic over the aging of his generation, the information age and his detachment from the working world, singing, “All my friends are working hard/ Trying to establish themselves.” He discusses the perils of aging (and the inherent personality changes involved) on “The Blondes” and the leaving (death?) of a lover on “Confessions of a Teenage Jerk-Off.”

 

Pollard is joined in the creation of the album with his long-time producer Todd Tobias, who adds all of the instruments after Pollard records his vocals.  Tobias, like on last year’s Standard Gargoyle Decisions, lends Pollard’s vocals a thick AOR production, making Pollard seem like late-period Who (on “No One But I”) or, worse, Voodoo Lounge-era Rolling Stones (on “Weatherman and Skin Goddess”).

 

The only time Pollard seems as vital as he was back in 1994 is on closer “Wealth and Hell Being,” a slow-burning, country-fried, ballad where Pollard’s wistful vocals and his old musical transcendence coincide for the first time. For years Pollard has been stating that he belongs in rock’s upper pantheon based on the amount of songs he puts out and his inherent greatness. On Off to Business, he accomplishes another step toward canonization, making a late-period album that removes any semblance of what made him great in the first place and is a largely uninspired trip down memory lane.

 

***

Band: http://www.robertpollard.net

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/robertepollardjr

Jean Grae & 9th Wonder - Jeanius J-Live Then What Happened?

don't be fooled by this atrocious review. half the album is amazing and true heads will luv it front to back.

actual person

one time i went to canada and some guy named douglas jones touched me where my bathing suit goes.
this review gave me the same feeling.

chad wolfe

Album good.Reviewer bad. Needs to spend less time blowing Interpol fans in hallway of trendy rock club.Most likely likes to spend weekend with thumb up butt.

mick

"Voodoo Lounge" era Rolling Stones?? Come on. What really bothers me about this brainless review is that the writer can only find "one or two stunners" on Coast to Coast Carpet of Love and Standard Gargoyle Decisions. I think he's the one who's spent too much time in the Voodoo Lounge.

Dan C.

The "Lackluster" "Coast to Coast Carpet of Love"? That was a GREAT FREAKING RECORD. That's all you need to know about the credibility of the reviewer.

Oh, and Doug Jones never touched me, but his music has made me feel like I've undergone female circumsision, but for men.

lackluster

Is Prefix a real magazine, or does it only exist on the internet? This reviewer should be drawn and quartered, and replaced with someone who actually listens to music.

Spurlock McGurgles

Coast to Coast Carpet of Love is my favorite post-GBV album by Pollard, but Off to Business might be a close second (tied with FaCE). not perfect, but perfectly f---ed up...in a good way.

i think the reviewer only listened to it once.

dan

This review honestly reads like a middle schooler wrote it for their school paper.
You seem to be the kind of person who skims over an artist with 1000 songs in his catalog, giving them no time to sink in, and then pretends to be a scholar on the subject by quoting redundant stats (1000 songs, 1994, 70 minutes). By the way, since when are

I listened to a record 3 times and wrote a review

banjo

/site_media/uploads/images/users/acb/01bigblacktomb.jpg acb

This guy is a nerd. That record is near perfect. Even for Pollard, it's a record that's relatively easy to grasp. Shouldn't be that difficult to appreciate. It's a really really good record.

Nerd Patrol

you gave the new death cab for cutie album a better rating?

you really gave the biggest fag songwriter a better rating then uncle bob?

and you claim to like pavement?

wow

wow she says wow

yeah, it's a bad review, especially if he only listened to the record a couple times. i have to admit after the first listen i thought: "crap, another middliing pollard record that sounds just like all the others." but after a few more listens it started to hit me. i still don't like the first couple tracks and the second song's vox are h-o-r-r-i-b-l-e! however, the last three songs especially rule. i'm pleasantly surprised.

hairpuller

it might be the only proper Robert Pollard album this year but it's not the only music he's putting out this year, Happy Jack Rock Records Singles series, Superman was a Rocker, Circus Devils, Psycho and the Birds, um, anything else (I don't really keep up with all of it anymore either...)? Most of his albums clock in at about 35-40 minutes, I can only think of one, From A Compound Eye, that is 70 minutes long (apart from compilations). It's not his first label, he's already released about 50 + records on his old, now defunct label, the Fading Captain Series. just sayin'

lynshroom

What a completely pointless "review." Robert Pollard consistently makes great albums, and this one is no exception.

TC

Let's face it. Almost all of Robert Pollard's and GBV's albums need repeated listening to sink in. I've had some that didn't kick in until the 8th listen. Record reviewers do as little work as posible. They lsiten to the album on Friday before they go out to a gig and review it the next morning.

Chuck U

I'd say the 5.5 rating is very generous.

Gavin Hobson

Pollard enjoyed a decade of greatness up until the end of GBV, during which time he penned some of the most amazing, moving and transcendent songs I've ever heard, but the last few years have seem him slip towards just being 'OK'. And for someone of Pollard's talents, just 'OK' isn't good enough. Sad, but his recent output rarely moves me...

Realist

Realist, I noticed this too. After From A Compound Eye which was pretty good, his albums are getting harder and harder to get into. I've done the requisite 10 listens on the last few and they just don't have the same indescribable feeling to them.

Mike D

I just dont understand most of this. I think the post pollard canon is some of his best work to date.
Psycho, the Takeovers, and everything else is just really getting cool.

When i hear tracks like Wealth and Hell-Being, Jesus the Clockwork, or Nicky Highpockets i am beside myself with how amazing the music has become.

I've been listening to the old EPs lately and i only hear the post GbV work as an extention or continuation of that time period. The awk and sublime voice, the inconsistency, the beautiful and ugly...it is all there. Those early EPS get a lot of praise and i do not understand how those same people who praise it cant hear the brilliance of the new recordings.

chugs vollman

hmmm this review is garbage.

I honestly think next to face and coast to coast this his best effort after Gbv.

His vision is never so clear as it is here with the exception of 2 tracks that i haven't gotten that into yet.

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