"When we quit, indie rock will die," Robert Pollard famously boasted about the breakup of his long-running band Guided By Voices. That was 2004, and no matter your feelings about the scrawny, albino art form, you have to admit the sucker hasn't quite kicked the bucket just yet. Neither has Pollard, who continues to write and record at a healthy pace. Normal Happiness, his second post-GBV solo outing, continues his fervent belief that any riff he thinks of deserves to be turned into a song. Sheer bulk is his stock-in-trade, and between the indulgent little doodles and straight-out stinkers, Normal has its share of two-minute treasures, and, as always, the fun is gleaning the good from the bad. And while Pollard seems to have permanently retired his Who-like air-guitar madness for more relaxed lo-fi melodies, his lyrics and song titles remain willfully nutty. You can bet that the sadness inherent in "Boxing About" and the lingering dread gnawing at the corners of "Pegasus Glue Factory" will be impossible puzzles that his fans will happily spend months decoding and debating until the next Pollard album comes around in, oh, let's say April.
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