Recorded in five days and released in a month, from beginning to end, Kid Marine is Robert Pollard's third solo album since 1996, a time period that has also seen the release of three Guided by Voices albums, all with the lion's share of writing credits going to Pollard. Opening with an odd, stuttering vocal hook on "Submarine Teams," the song quickly leads into a perfect Who-like riff, and on into what may be Pollard's most consistently excellent solo album yet. Kid Marine comes on like a combination of Pollard's Not in My Airforce and a less-polished version of GbV's Mag Earwhig!. In other words, there is an immediacy to the recording and playing (courtesy of GbV mates Greg Demos and Jim Macpherson), but with careful production touches throughout, such as the keyboard that imitates an accordion on the wonderful see-sawing pop of "Strictly Comedy" and the bongos on "White Gloves Come Off." Each song is fully composed and performed, and includes some of Pollard's finest writing, from "Far-out Crops," with its gently chugging guitar lines and emotive vocals, to the quick, wistful Snatch Candy" to "Town of Mirrors," one of the finest love songs to a town, which explodes into a cacophony of Oh, alrights after two minutes of Oriental-like guitar strumming. And when Pollard's vulnerable voice shoots lonely over the strummed acoustic guitar of "Flings of the Waistcoat Crowd," it is so heartbreakingly beautiful that it makes everything seem okay, if just for that instant. As usual, you can't be certain what Pollard is trying to convey because of his enigmatically abstruse lyrics (can anyone decipher the lyric "Wolfing the creamskin for all the right stuff?"). But he is well-entrenched in his pop pulpit and flings his off-the-cuff philosophies with purpose and flair. Taking the time to listen closely to his sermons always result in (as he sings on "Living Upside Down") "stretching a perspective."