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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Robert Pollard - Silverfish Trivia LP (aborted)

I'll be frank and tell you I have been dreading this post.

2006 was a breathtaking year for Robert Pollard. Mid year he put out one of my favorite albums, Normal Happiness. Some of my favorite Pollard tunes of all time appear on it. To me, it's nearly as good as Not In My Airforce. "Get A Faceful" is one of my all time favorite songs by anyone. So when I heard Bob's next album would be coming out months later (pretty much par for the course) and was called Silverfish Trivia, I couldn't wait. I opened up Soulseek and added those search terms to my wishlist (which is a constantly searching feature for Soulseek, akin to google alerts).

A day or two after this announcement I got a search return. 12 songs, titled "track 01.mp3, track 02.mp3"...etc. in a folder called Silverfish Trivia. I downloaded it. It came down like lightning, and I quickly shared it with my other Soulseek Pollard nuts. Within hours the original user (who I added to my list) disappeared and the shares were spreading like wildfire.

I started listening to the songs and it was a perfectly sequenced follow up to Normal Happiness, a superb indie rock statement in much the same vein as Normal Happiness.

A few days later I see an article on Pfork saying that Bob is upset about the file leak and as a result is pulling the release for retooling as a shortened EP. I was shocked, and a little embarrassed. Could I really be the cause of one of my hero's anger? I am a loyalist with records, I may pirate but I always buy what I like, direct from the artist. I didn't even have song titles for these songs!!!

This shock and abort didn't really affect my ability to love this album. What did affect my enjoyment of this album was hearing the finalized EP. Three of the songs on the original album show up here, skewing the context and sequence. Orchestral string segments bookend this underwhelming EP which I would give maybe a 4/10 rating to, from an album that was a 9.5.

I felt a little at odds with this relationship, EP to LP, like fans were being punished for being curious. I can understand the mentality it would take to cause a situation like this but it doesn't change how lame and deflated this EP sounds. I feel like maybe Pollard intended to punish his fans but infact punished his own art. I would love to hear what he thinks of the EP vs. LP.

This LP is stellar, and over the next 6 months from the leak I was able to accrue the song titles as these songs were split up and released as extras on the Crickets compilation from The Fading Captain series and as B sides for the 7 inch singles club that was released around the 2 albums that came next: Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love / Standard Gargoyle Decisions.


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