Honey Locust Honky Tonk
Just as I’m making my way through all the recent material from (the recently reformed) Guided By Voices (I love Class Clown Spots A UFO, possibly for its title alone) this arrives; a new Pollard solo album. Geez man, for some he’s held up as the king of indie slacker-dom (or slacker indie-dom) and yet with some 2000 songs to his name, his prolific writing/recording rate and remarkable success rate within that suggests nothing resembling slackness.
And so to another 17 songs – delivered in under 35 minutes (again, no fucking around) and it’s that same shake of the head; that same marvel that this guy just spits this stuff out, just shits out gold. There are some really great song slivers here, figments and fragments of a creative imagination that so effortlessly creates hooks. These short songs burn their way in. Taking a slightly lighter approach, more pop than rock you might say, Honey Locust Honky Tonk hints that it might want to be a country album – but it’s only country in the way that Nick Cave or R.E.M is country, which is to say not really at all. But there are these hints still. And the use of Honky Tonk in the title is one of them. The cowboy hat picture might help cement this idea. But genre really doesn’t matter, what matters is that the output is strong/continues to be strong.
These are heartbreaking works of staggering genius, these are easy knockoffs tossed to the side once they’ve met their quota: a couple of chords, a memorable phrase, a gorgeous sniff of melody and a voice offering conviction. Then, just as you’re hooked it’s time to move on. Again and again. The songs just tumble. And most of them are great. They speed by too, so the slightly average ones – there are no total duds – just sneak on by.
So much to like here. I’m in love with He Requested Things, yet another grand opener (how does he do it? – Every time!), She Hides In Black (some kind of subtle/clever Bowie rewrite) and It Disappears In The Least Likely Hands (We May Never Not Know) – also a hint of Bowie to it.
And then there’s the closer, Airs.
But there’s another half-dozen songs I could mention. And there’ll be another two dozen arriving – in some guise – so soon after this review. Good lord. You can understand why people just step aside and let Pollard go, never to enter into this world. It’s very much a case of too much to take, too much to consider. But I’m glad I caught this one. It’s fucking lovely.