Boston Spaceships land without carrying any of the baggage one would expect from Robert Pollard's first group after retiring Guided By Voices. Brown Submarine doesn't harness the practice tape aesthetics of GBV's albums. That there are only 14 songs here, rather than the 25-plus of his previous records, shows that he's mastering the art of editing. "Winston's Atomic Bird" feigns attempts at prog rock that feels comfortably lobbed. From there, "Psych Threat," "Zero Fix" and "Rat Trap" take shape as ramped-up strum-punk anthems that strike with precision. As Pollard's power-pop record, Brown Submarine features some of his most brilliant moments to date, and shows that the old man has still got some fire in his gut. Five stars.
Boston Spaceships play the Earl Fri., Oct. 17, 8 p.m. $18-$20.