I'm a little late reviewing this one. While Waving at the Astronauts grabbed me immediately, this one took a little longer to get its hooks in. But it did. One of the amazing things about the way Pollard makes music is his ability to combine the four P's, switch among them from song to song or within the same song. If you've followed him, you know that some of his greatest songs consist of combinations of shorter songs, but then sometimes he leaves the smaller songs to stand on their own. Space City Kicks is a great example of that.
This album consists of 18 separate songs, only one of which is longer than 2:30. While he's great at putting together masterpieces like "Over the Neptune/Mesh Gear Fox" that combine shorter pieces into a cohesive song, Pollard excels at short but complete songs... when it's done, it's done. That's what we've got here.
The first song, "Mr. Fantastic Must Die" (video below), is a psych overdose that takes about a minute to complete...
Then we're hurtling immediately into a driving rock track, "Space City Kicks," with prog breaks--Bowie influences are well-represented here, and well-played. The third song is a real beauty: "Blowing Like a Sunspot", a pop gem with sweet vocals, melodic guitar and a nice chorus to finish. In the cleanup spot is "I Wanna Be Your Man in the Moon", which combines a Who-style bass line, punk backbeat, deep vocals, a sweet-sounding chorus and a great power-pop guitar solo, all in 2:15.
Then it gets real prog with "Sex She Said": sparse, simple lyrics and heavy instrumentation, chanted vocals, a little jarring. Then another pretty guitar/vocal track: "One More Touch," another prog changeup "Picture a Star", and then we get to the centerpiece, the best song on the record, for my money: "Something Strawberry". Bob's taken us from Roky Erickson to Bowie to Beefheart to a true Pollard classic (believe me, "Something Strawberry" will make the GbV/Pollard mixtape), and we are only halfway through the record. You can imagine what happens next (no, he doesn't fix the cable, he throws ten more songs out there).
If you've never listened to GbV or Robert Pollard before, go download the pop songs: "Something Strawberry", "One More Touch", and marvel at how a man could create hundreds of these, some in no longer than it takes to record a demo... but if you've never listened to GbV or Pollard before, I'd wonder what you are doing here. For Pollard fans, this is a must.
Website: Robert Pollard.net and Bob on Facebook