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Mouseman Cloud

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Robert Pollard

Mouseman Cloud

12" LP

Availability: In stock


Quick Overview

Robert Pollard's new solo album Mouseman Cloud shows the Guided By Voices frontman in a playful and spontaneous mood. This is a record by a guy who just wants to rock, and not have to worry about how that rock will be received by anyone other than himself. While the songs here are not a world away from anything you'll find on GBV's new Let's Go Eat the Factory album, the emphasis on Mouseman Cloud is on wordplay rather than melody, on unkempt exploration rather than traditional song structure. A lot of the tracks sound as if they started as lyrics-even poetry-and were fit around the sounds, which is not an uncommon way for Pollard to work, but the album's gleeful verbosity could be interpreted as the work of a man who might have been feeling the pressure of expectations from (for instance) a Guided By Voices reunion and just wants to cut loose. Recorded in collaboration with producer / multi-instrumentalist Todd Tobias, Mouseman Cloud is catchy, heavy, lovely, rocky, exuberant, complexly simple and freaking wonderful. Not sweating the small stuff is not the same as taking no pains over the writing and recording-too often the two are conflated when discussing Pollard's prodigious output. He takes pains. He edits. He cares deeply about each and every part of each and every song he records. That he seems to do so frequently and effortlessly is not his fault. It's a unique and unparalleled talent. Mouseman Cloud is the work of a consummate craftsman as well as a crazy genius, and proof that these two traits are not incompatible.


Compulsively prolific songwriter Robert Pollard has churned out no less than three albums of power pop-leaning indie rock a year (and often a lot more than that) under guises varying from his given name to the much-celebrated Guided by Voices to the slightly different Boston Spaceships. The different projects and monikers have incremental differences to separate them from one another, but Pollard's jumble-minded lyrics and '60s Popsike hooks are at the center of it all with songs shooting out like bits of confetti at a parade. Mouseman Cloud, Pollard's first solo record of 2012 but fifth of the very-young 2010s, is a pretty straightforward collection of the type of truncated short story-style indie rock we've come to expect from the man, and one more segment of his incredibly slow evolution. This means there are 17 songs, three or four of which are stellar (in this case "Obvious #1," "Science Magazine," and the acoustic brilliance of "Zen Mother Hen"), three or four mostly unfinished indulgences of whatever nonsense Pollard's muse had that morning ("Smacks of Euphoria" for instance), and the remaining songs just kind of pleasantly there. While the attention to detail and fidelity in the studio have gone up considerably since the early GbV days, the glossier records haven't always been as interesting as the damaged four-track fare that poured out of Pollard and crew in the mid-'90s. Aided on Mouseman Cloud by producer/multi-instrumentalist Todd Tobias, Pollard makes better use of the studio here than on other solo efforts, with tastefully understated synthesizers padding the guitar-heavy tunes. The mood is somewhat spontaneous and rushed throughout, with full-steam readings of short tunes and random breakdowns augmenting Pollard's alliterative, Dadaist wordplay. It wouldn't be surprising to hear the band learned the songs moments before the tape rolled, and then went with the loosest takes, but the process is anyone's guess. Even the lesser songs have enough catchy moments to rank Mouseman Cloud up there with any of Pollard's unending solo material from the decade preceding it, but the strongest songs leave one wondering what kind of masterpieces he could construct if he'd just limit himself to one record a year.

Additional Information

Artist Robert Pollard
Track Listing 1 Obvious #1 - 1:50 2 Picnic Drums - 3:33 3 Mouseman Cloud - 1:30 4 Dr. Time - :59 5 Lizard Ladder - 2:11 6 Human Zoo - :46 7 Bats Flew Up - 1:53 8 Mother's Milk and Magnets - 3:02 9 Continue To Break - 2:23 10 I Was Silence - 1:43 11 Smacks of Euphoria - 1:23 12 Science Magazine - 1:55 13 No Tools - 2:19 14 Aspirin Moon - 1:46 15 Half Strained - 1:13 16 Zen Mother Hen - 1:40 17 Chief Meteorologist - 3:10

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