City Paper is not for tourists
Rumorville is teeming with tales of Guided by Voices’ disbanding. But GbV was often accused of being a one-man band, and Robert Pollard’s first official solo flight, Not in My Air Force, offers scads of evidence to bolster the charge. It wouldn’t take a musicologist, let alone a GbV nut, anything more than the first burst of power chords on NiMAF’s opening track, “Get Under It,” to grasp that this was the work of the same chap who penned “Man Called Aerodynamics,” which kicked off the last, and probably last, GbV long player, Under the Bushes Under the Stars. Pretty much everything that follows would also meld nicely into one or more of GbV’s post-Propeller compilations. Given the quality of the band’s recent bumper crop, that’s not a bad thing at all. There’s not an “Echos Myron” in the bunch, but from the cryptic-yet-anthemic “Chance to Buy an Island” to the driving “I’ve Owned You for Centuries,” NiMAF’s 22 tracks showcase all the hypermelodic quirkiness one could want from the supremely gifted and singularly prolific Daytonian. All that and lyrical accessibility, too: Pollard ends the anti-romantic “Girl Named Captain” by shrugging off one of his best and bitterest couplets: “I’m not in your dreams/Get out of mine.” And on “Psychic Pilot Clocks Out” he cries out, “I feel life passing on by us” so fervently and so many times that he really must mean it. Maybe that’s why GbV is no more. So be it.