Robert Pollard | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Robert Pollard

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You might expect the title of Robert Pollard's second post-GBV studio album, Normal Happiness (Merge), to be at least a little ironic. But he actually plays its 16 songs completely straight, sounding giddy as a teenager hopped up on Red Bull and hormones, spazzing out to the Raspberries in front of a mirror. There's no middle-aged, been-around-the-block self-consciousness to the songs, even when he's plumbing piano-driven country blues on "Serious Bird Woman (You Turn Me On)" or darkly pouting on "Give Up the Grape." I've often wondered if he considers the depth of his songbook and gets overwhelmed when he puts a set list together, but now I wonder if he's worried about what that task will be like in ten years. Judging by the freshness and energy of the record, it seems like retirement, or even winding down, is a long way off. Nassau opens. a 10 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $20.

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