steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Robert Pollard

"Normal Happiness" CD

Merge Records

Genres: lo-fi, indie rock, indie pop

November 2006

Our tireless worker continues his productivity streak with Normal Happiness. It's been awhile since I've indulged in Pollard's work (admittedly I haven't followed his post-GBV career very attentively), so I was pretty comforted by the revelation that this work isn't far from his days of yore. As usual, these songs aren't all winners, but when they're good they're pretty great. Pollard's love of supernatural metaphor and unusual wordplay remain intact, and his distinct melodic style and unique vocals are on display in full form.

When Normal Happiness is good, it is generally quite a pleasure. The sad fact is that this isn't always the case. As has become typical of Mr. Pollard's output, there are some real moments of mediocrity on this record; blips range from the unsalvageable (miserable "I Feel Gone Again" and atmospheric but deathly "Join The Eagles") to the merely mildly unfortunate (curiously bland closer "Full Sun (Dig The Slowness)" and uninfectious "Boxing About"). Still, the goodies don't disappoint - infectious rockers "Accidental Texas Who" and "Rhoda Rhoda" work alongside slower, meandering compositions like "Pegasus Glue Factory" and "Tomorrow Will Not Be Another Day". And a "monster anthem" named "Give Up The Grape" is something only Robert Pollard can pull off. The Man's Merge debut isn't perfect, but there's enough good stuff on here to make this worthy of note for most followers of the GBV compendium.

mp3 (from supernatural car lover


Fun Fact: Robert Pollard has over 900 songs registered with his name to BMI. (source)

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 16 tracks, 34:20, distributed by the label, released 2006]