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From A Compound Eye

4.2 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 24, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

With 26 songs clocking in at over 70 minutes, "From A Compound Eye" finally makes good on Pollard's threat to release a double album. The wealth of new material is astounding. Highlights include some of the best of the Pollard/Guided By Voices canon ("Dancing Girls And Dancing Men", "I'm A Widow", and "Love Is Stronger Than Witchcraft"), as well as other nuggets that find Robert tweaking his style and experimenting with new sounds. The LP includes a coupon for a free download of "From A Compound Eye" at www.mergerecords.com.

Amazon.com

Sure, he's had like a dozen albums out since disbanding Guided By Voices(including a comedy album!), but this is Robert Pollard's first major solo release since GBV's final tour, so it's kind of a big deal. Do I need to tell you that these twenty-six songs are an eclectic batch, that some are throwaways and others slices of pure pop genius, that some songs were recorded in a full studio with a bnd and others were plopped down to a hissy four-track in a stupor of some sort? "Dancing Girls And Dancing Men," one of those timelessly simple pop ditties that Pollard seems to write twenty of before breakfast, is seriously worth the price of admission, and that's just track three. Recorded in 2004 with Todd Tobias, Chris Sheehan and Scott Bennett, F.A.C.E. may not stop GBV fans from entirely mourning the loss of one of the smartest and raddest bands of the last twenty years. But it's at least as good as the first albums that George Harrison and Paul McCartney released after the Beatles split up, and it surpasses GBV's last few studio albums. So what's there to complain about? –Mike McGonigal
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 24, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Merge Records
  • ASIN: B000CQQHRM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #290,042 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I enjoyed GBV's Earthquake Glue, but most of their later stuff, I think most would agree, hasn't been their best-- and no, I haven't heard the hundreds of unreleased songs-worth of box sets and other odd releases over the years. This has given me all the more reason to be amazed by the power and solidity of From A Compound Eye, which aside from its lack of 'singles,' might be one of Pollard's essential releases.

Unlike a GBV release, Compound Eye doesn't suffer from dramatic changes in style from one song to the next. The sound is uniform throughout, heavy in guitar, low in fidelity. 26 tracks stuffed onto a single CD aren't as cumbersome as you might expect. The individual tracks sink into the album's total atmosphere. And it might be a stretch, but I'm continually reminded of early 70's Genesis or King Crimson when I listen to this album (almost so much that I wonder if RP had this in mind). Like those early recordings, Pollard's singing often comes from a mysterious background behind arrays of guitar effects and solos (think of Peter Gabriel's haunting vocals on the album The Lamb Lies Down...). There thankfully is no thematic continuity to speak of, so it's not prog-rock.

I'm going to take a chance and say that this is Pollard's greatest leap in musical maturity and craftsmanship in years. Music nerds, at the least, are going to love this one. Ordinary indie fans-- maybe not so much, but I'd still give it a shot. I will say for sure that it's heads and tails above the last GBV album (whatever it was called).
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Format: Audio CD
A lot has been said about this album... perhaps because there is a lot to say. Given: Robert Pollard is a prolific songwriter, with erratic output (not necessarily a bad thing -- his very jaggedness is part of his appeal, veering from lo-fi gold to psych-pop gems that'd make any second- or third-wave British invader proud), critical love/hate (see pitchfork and allmusic -- neither site can come right out and say they love him for his merits, both harp on his perceived faults).

"Ya know, Einstein never DID discover time travel. Or the fountain of youth. What a failure!"

Pollard = Einstein? Well, maybe not -- but, he has managed to put out a downright glorious latter-career album here. Several of these songs shirk the silver medal and go straight for gold -- "The Right Thing," "The Numbered Head," "Other Dogs Remain," all thoroughly enjoyable as hushed falling-asleep music or cranked on a Saturday morning with too much black coffee.

Critics like to point out that the album was allowed to cool for almost 2 years before it was released, yet it sounds fresher and freer than a lot of the tossed-off "love vs. death" journal entries passing for popular music these days.

There are pop hooks all over this creeper of an album. If you are still trying to figure out what Bob is "saying," maybe it won't connect on the pure visceral level that a good 90 dB thrashing of this double album will provide -- recommended: turn it up, turn your literal mind off and enjoy the effortless melodic indie-pop Mr. Pollard spins and flings out at a daunting rate.
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Format: Audio CD
As a late-comer to GBV and Robert Pollard (Isolation Drills was the first GBV disc I heard), I'm not as well versed in all things Bob as some reviewers are. I was immediately taken with "Drills" and have since purchased several GBV and Pollard solo project discs (including the almost always revered Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes). I gotta tell you folks, the older lo-fi CDs have their charm, mainly because they seem so real and unpretentious, but Bob has definitely grown as an artist since those days and the newer releases bear this out. This is a fine album, full of the infectious hooks that are Pollard's calling card, nicely paced and well arranged. I would place this with my personal favorites which include Isolation Drills, Earthquake Glue and Half-Smiles of the Decomposed. Bob is truly an exceptional artist, proficient songwriter and composer, and one of the truly gifted artists of the rock era. Check him out.
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Format: Audio CD
Robert Pollard was the genius behind Guided By Voices for over twenty years. I flew back to Los Angeles just to see their last California show. I was standing next to longtime fan Dennis Cooper. He was the one who told me about the band in the first place. He also told me about JT Leroy. While JT Leroy is a made up person, Robert Pollard and Guided By Voices is the real deal. They are a very delicate rock and roll band. Robert Pollard continues on the tradition. It is stripping away all artifice. Some songs like "A Flowering Orphan" are very emotional and lovely sounding. There is some basic GBV rock and roll here. "Love Is Stronger Than Witchcraft" is a stand out track here. Robert Pollard combines a feeling for modern music and has a high level of literacy. Pollard often has the touch of a poet. This is a great album to wake up to. This is the best record from Merge in a while.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
I missed this the first time around. Robert Pollard releases so many albums it's easy to let one fall through the cracks. This and Moses on a Snail are the highlights of the period when GBV didn't exist. Needs a few listens before it works its way into your head, but it's worth the effort.
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