Pollard Finds 'Normal Happiness' On New Album

Former Guided By Voices leader Robert Pollard will on Oct. 10 release his second Merge solo album of the year, "Normal Happiness."

Former Guided By Voices leader Robert Pollard will on Oct. 10 release his second Merge solo album of the year, "Normal Happiness." As first reported here in November, the set features "16 two-minute pop songs," according to Pollard, who crafted the material from ideas that went unused on his 2004 soundtrack to the Steven Soderbergh film "Bubble."

As with January's "From a Compound Eye," the new album is collaboration with producer Todd Tobias. "I spent two-and-a-half days in the studio doing my vocals and guitar and he spent two weeks finishing it," Pollard tells Billboard.com. "It has gotten to the point where it's like, just do it, Todd, and I don't care what you do. I trust you entirely. I don't know how many projects I have done with him, maybe 10, but the success ratio is 100%."

But while "From a Compound Eye" veered from 70-second blasts like "I'm a Strong Lion" to prog-leaning "epics" such as "Love Is Stronger Than Witchcraft" and "The Numbered Head," the new album puts the focus squarely back on guitar rock.

Pollard's exaggerated British accent returns on a handful of cuts, while tracks like "Get a Faceful," "Towers and Landslides" and the anthemic "Give Up the Grape" hark back the more straightforward moments from Guided By Voices' classic "Bee Thousand"/"Alien Lanes" period.

Dates have yet to be nailed down, but a spokesperson says Pollard will hit the road in October and November and will visit some cities he hasn't played in many years. The artist will be backed by guitarists Tommy Keene and Dave Phillips, bassist Jason Narducy and Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster.

Here is the track list for "Normal Happiness":

"Accidental Texas Who"
"Whispering Whip"
"Supernatural Car Lover"
"Boxing About"
"Serious Bird Woman (You Turn Me On)"
"Get a Faceful"
"Towers and Landslides"
"I Feel Gone Again"
"Gasoline Ragtime"
"Rhoda Rhoda"
"Give Up the Grape"
"Pegasus Glue Factory"
"Top of My Game"
"Tomorrow Will Not Be Another Day"
"Join the Eagles"
"Full Sun (Dig the Slowness)"