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Full time Medical Anthropologist, part time music critic.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mars Classroom - The New Theory of Everything (2011)

Mars Classroom is a collaboration between Robert Pollard and Gary Waleik, Big Dipper guitarist.  In the same vein as his albums with Tommy Keene (Blues and Boogie Shoes), Doug Gillard (Waving at the Astronauts), Gary Waleik crafted all the music, with Mr Pollard dropping some wonderful melodic gems throughout the proceedings.  I admit I have never listened to Big Dipper, so being introduced to his instrumental world is a treat.  The music is somewhat simple, as compared to the production and wide variety of song structures on “Space City Kicks” and “Waving at the Astronauts”.  But this works beautifully to push Mr Pollard’s lyrics and melodies to the forefront.  Another way this works is that without a cluttered production, additional instruments, or excessive overdubbing, the music is brilliantly and succinctly played and produced.  “The New Theory of Everything”, to this listener’s ears, is like finding an early 80’s alternative college rock album you’ve never heard before and just flooring you with how melodic and varied a singer, guitarist, drummer, and bassist can be.  Rather than “being retro”, these two veterans are just old enough to actually play and sing music that taps into that edgy energy of that magical time before MP3’s, downloading, Youtube, and blogs.  You just heard it in someone’s dorm room, or caught them opening for a main act in a local club, and it was so catchy and felt so right you never forgot.   Just check out the amazing “Dr New Pile (You Can Guess Him)” to get a feel for what is happening on this record.  Pollard and Waliek are clearly made for each other in terms of their musical roots and styles.  As soon as the last song played out, I wanted to know when the next Mars Classroom album would hit the streets. It’s just that fun, melodic, and straightforward.  It’s good to be bug boy, indeed.

"The New Theory of Everything" is available from GBVDigital for download prior to it hitting your local record store.Click to enter GBVDigital.


Michael said...

Great tracks. Pollard and Waleik make a great pairing. I'm looking forward to hearing this entire album. Thanks for posting.

Man Called Aerodynamics said...

Thanks for the comments. Yes, this is a wonderful surprise, and has immediately gone to the top of my favorite Pollard recordings.

John Hyland said...

I like your blog, and I too love this record. Wrote a review, and posted a link to your blog on mine.


Wonder how many music blogs there are named after bits of Pollard songs?

Man Called Aerodynamics said...

John, thanks for the kind words. And thanks for linking to my blog. I will also be sure to check out your posts and thoughts on all things BOB!