Robert Pollard/Boston Spaceships – Brown Submarine

January 01, 1970

By Voices, Inc.)


Pollard’s standing as the hardest-working man in indie-rock is further
reinforced by the emergence of a brand new project, Boston Spaceships, just a
few months down the road from the appropriately titled solo effort Robert Pollard Is Off To Business. This
one is what Pollard calls his “pop punk album, made by and for kids who’ve worn out the grooves on their
Cheap Trick, Alice Cooper, Wire and dB’s records.” But there’s nothing
especially pop-punk about it, despite the occasional chugging guitar. And even
at their most iconoclastic, the dB’s were practically slaves to pop tradition
compared to the more eccentric urges Pollard follows here.


crunch-guitar riff that eases you into the album may share certain
sensibilities with power-pop – recalling Graham Coxon’s Happiness in Magazines – but by the chorus, Pollard’s veered off
into psychedelic waters, pulls out of that bit with a hammering rhythmic
precision that places it closer to metal (which of course it isn’t). Other
highlights range from understated psychedelic whimsy of the type Robyn
Hitchcock would envy (on “Brown Submarine,” “North 11 A.M.,” and the poppier
“Two Girl Area,” for instance) to the punkish variation on Bo Diddley’s
favorite beat that powers “Ate It Twice” – which, naturally sounds nothing like
a song Bo Diddley would have written. Meanwhile, “Psyche Threat” finds him
trading up his classic rocker’s fascination with Who’s Next for a rocker that channels the more ambitious spirit of The Who Sell Out, complete with horns.
And when he hits his Big Star moment 11 tracks in, he opens wide and out spills
“Soggy Beaver.”


Standout tracks: “Winston’s Atomic Bird,”
“Psyche Threat” A. WATT


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