Robert Pollard – Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love & Standard Gargoyle Decisions

After an almost 20-year tenure as the brain trust of Guided by Voices it’s fair to call the über-prolific Robert Pollard the elder statesman of college rock. However since that band’s dissolution another analogy might be more apt. With the release of two new solo albums Pollard has officially become the Woody Allen of the indie rock set.

As a director Allen has been remarkably prolific turning out a film a year like clockwork with admittedly diminishing returns. Pollard’s four post-GBV solo records are much like Allen’s films — good but not great. They stand up compared to other artists but they can’t hold a candle to his back catalogue. Fans of Pollard’s ’70s rock tactics and British Invasion vibrato will no doubt enjoy the new releases but with each passing album there is less and less standout material. The two latest releases are supposed to showcase two sides of Pollard’s personality — one is his version of power pop while the other is a rock affair. It’s an odd distinction because both Coast to Coast Carpet of Love and Standard Gargoyle Decisions sound quite similar. It’s a moot point really because ultimately Pollard is his own machine and makes whatever kind of music he wants. He would be writing these songs whether he had label support or not. As a longtime fan though I’m looking forward to the day when Pollard isn’t free to release absolutely every song he writes and gets back to picking and choosing his best material.