Following three full-length Boston Spaceships records in only two years, Our Cubehouse Still Rocks is a breakthrough fourth album from the band featuring Robert Pollard (Guided By Voices), Chris Slusarenko (Guided By Voices) and John Moen (Decemberists). The collaboration began as a long-distance recording project, but brilliantly hits its stride on this album as an unshakable, actualized band. For a group that took their name from the over-the-top UFO illustrations on record covers from '70s arena rockers Boston, there's no denying a classic-rock flag flying high overhead. Just below, however, is the bustling churn of art-damaged new wave, echoes of Devo, mid-period Wire and the sour songcraft of the Rough Trade stable.
From the near-prog sunshine psych of "Track Star" to the barn-burning album closer "In the Bathroom," the sixteen songs fly by in a gust of demented, high-energy pop. Pollard's visual arts talents, especially his fascination with collage, have integrated themselves into the sonic realm with Boston Spaceships. While early GBV had the occasional tape cut-up, on this album compositional collage runs through the songwriting, be it schizophrenic structure or a completely random burst of overdubbed drum solos. Easily the best collection of songs from the Spaceships, the record is brimming with hooks and Pollard's incredible gift for melodies so catchy they shine through even the weirdest musical surroundings.
More than anything here, Pollard sounds rejuvenated and excited. At this point--literally thousands of songs into a decades-long career--one might anticipate his unprecedented prolific output would result in a few phoned-in numbers. But once again this is not the case. Our Cubehouse Still Rocks is the sound of a band alive with the energy and excitement of making a brand new, incredible noise. Every second feels electric.
"Since late 2008 or so, Pollard has enjoyed a late-career renaissance, consistently rewarding those of us still paying attention."