Vanderslice's fifth solo album contains 14 tracks built on short stories efficient and evocative enough to be reminiscent of top-tier fiction writers, and sonically gorgeous enough that the casual fan can go several listens without noticing the lyrics. In addition to several delicate, dead-on autobiographical songs, Pixel Revolt is full of John's trademark fictional narrators. Barsuk. 2005.
This is the fifth album in as many years from John Vanderslice. He continues to use the studio as a workshop and laboratory, allowing songs to flourish as the arrangements blossom. This time out kindred spirit John Darnielle assisted, as editor, co-writer and all around sympathetic aesthetic collaborator (Vanderslice also produced his last two Mountain Goats albums). Brilliantly arranged and played, the fourteen songs are filled with utterly mesmerizing moments, from the haunting chorus on "Plymouth Rock" to the strutting piano figure of "Peacocks in the Video Rain." Vanderslice knows the power of words, with his lyrics mixing narrative certainty with poetic mystery. His melodies can, by turns, underscore the emotional character of the words, and play off of them, expanding the magical possibilities exponentially. --David Greenberger