Robert Pollard has long embraced the weirdness and beauty of suburban mythology. In his tenures fronting Guided By Voices and in offshoots like Ricked Wicky, he’s crafted surrealistic lyrics that touch on the most fragile of human emotions. This is especially the case on his experimental rock project, Circus Devils.
The band’s latest album, Stomping Grounds, is out later this month via Happy Jock Records. The record sees Pollard looking pointedly at his youth, creating vivid interpretations of his old neighborhood while mixing in contemplations of a work-driven society and sexually active old men. As a preview, Pollard has shared a nostalgic song called “Sunflower Wildman (Remember Him?)”.
“It’s a true story, from my childhood,” Pollard tells Consequence of Sound. “I thought it appropriate on an album called Stomping Grounds.”
Pollard’s narrative on the track is both whimsical and tragic. He aptly captures the naivety of childhood wonder, recalling a man with dementia chasing Pollard and his childhood friends away from his sunflower garden. The jangling and dissonant guitar chords underscore the sense of bewilderment. Reality sets in near the end when the old man mysteriously leaves and years later a Target is rumored to take over the house’s lot. It’s an apt depiction of the loss of innocence and seeing a world you once loved slowly change before eventually fading away altogether.
Listen in below.