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Beard of Lightning
It's another Robert Pollard project, but not the latest GBV disc or even a fit introduction to the mind that might be a mad genius in the tradition of Syd Barrett and John Lennon yet seems relegated to cult status. Phantom Tollbooth's 1988 album, Power Toy, was remastered with new vocals and lyrics by Pollard. This works largely because of the genre—punk loaded with progressive tendencies—and the original was already so far out there instrumentally. For reference, Phantom Tollbooth combine the artsier jazz and punk of someone like the Minutemen in songs that could last 20 minutes instead of the Minutemen's 20 seconds. Pollard brings to the table his knack for oddball wordplay and off-kilter phrasing that make Beard seem as ahead of its time now as Power Toy was then. On "Mascara Snakes," Pollard proclaims, "in this stream of consciousness playing/no one knows what we are saying," and you might ask as well, what he is smoking. But whatever it is, don't stop now, Bob.