When you think of a “Supergroup” what comes to mind? Are you immediately thinking of Ted Nugent and Tommy Shaw belting out glam ballads in cheesy sunglasses?
We’re immediately drawn to world renowned names. Why? Is their music superior to all others? Would the same songs be worse if performed by someone else?
Robert Pollard, the determined mind behind the multiple decades spanning Guided By Voices, has focused his energy on the side project Boston Spaceships. Teaming up with the multi-talented John Moen (best known for his part in The Decemberists) and fellow GBV member Chris Slusarenko, the trio has set off on another profoundly momentous experiment. A piece of work so intricate, you’d think it took seven musicians, with all the talent they could muster, to put this together. The only difference, this is three guys who make it look far too easy. Embarking on their mission, Boston Spaceships releases their seventh LP, Let it Beard.
“Blind 20-20” kicks off the album with a prolific build up, setting the stage for a rock induced 75 minutes. Just as you get hooked into the nostalgic rock vibe, it promptly grasps to stalling muted guitar plucking, performs an about face and drops an acoustic, melodic, all-inclusive experimental jam in your lap. You’re left questioning what the subsequent 25 tracks are going to actually be about. The immediate follow up, “Juggernaut vs. Monolith,” offers no clear answer but effectively keeps you hooked tothe sound Boston Spaceships puts on the table. Varying from a sound buried deep in references to the Who all the way to the slower folk styles of R.E.M., Let it Beard is an admitted ode to the influences of today’s music. Pollard stated it is like “the White Album meets Quadrophenia meets Jesus Christ Superstar” all the while standing firm that it is a “concept album about the sorry state of rock and roll.”
While taking a stance on the current mood today’s music, Boston Spaceships has tapped into everything that has brought it to this point. This self evident expression of influence leaves one to truly contemplate the meaning of this massive collection of varying styles and weight. To this point, Boston Spaceships has unintentionally succeeded. Their ability to touch music in such a way that provokes serious contemplation, while at the same time delivering repeatedly memorable tracks, is evidence of the talent poured into this project.
Whether you take into consideration the complex meaning of Let it Beard or simply take it at face value, these are 26 tracks of solid craftsmanship on a level that cannot be taught; it can only come from a prodigy-like talent. This natural talent is the definition of Supergroup.