Robert Pollard - Of Course You Are LPFire Records (UK)
2016 release from the prolific indie kingpin. Of Course You Are is solo album number 24 by the tireless Guided By Voices auteur. Meticulously constructed, Of Course You Are is overstuffed with hooky tunes, riffs aplenty and skewed/skewering lyrics. To some extent, this solo album is a natural outgrowth of Pollard's 2015 work with Ricked Wicky; and to some extent it's a return to early-2000s Guided By Voices, with its combination of instrumental virtuosity and Pollard's uniquely oblique approach to songwriting. All of the instruments on Of Course You Are were played by Ricked Wicky's Nick Mitchell, who also recorded/produced the record, and Mitchell's evident musicianship lifts the material to another sonic level without over-polishing. The instrumental palette has been broadened - discreet flourishes of strings, horns, piano (etc.) occasionally bring to mind baroque rock classics by the likes of Love and Cardinal. Which is not to say this is chamber pop. These songs are all determinedly guitar-driven, however textured, and rock as hard as anything Pollard's done to date. Mitchell's occasional virtuosic solos are concise, but the guy can shred, and when he does, he does. (We refer the listener to the exquisite "Promo Brunette" for illustration.) Mitchell is a heretofore hidden gem discovered by Pollard in their mutual Dayton, OH hometown.