It was 2010 when Dayton, OH native Tobin Sprout released his last solo album, ‘The Bluebirds of Happiness Tried to Land on My Shoulder’. Since then, he’d joined up and departed once more from his fellow Guided By Voices cohorts and focused some attention on his other areas of artistic expression. Music changesRELe people change underwear, so the musical climate certainly underwent developments in that six years Tobin was otherwise occupied. What does that have to do with anything? Well, it seems that Tobin’s time away has allowed him to put ainteresting thoughts and ideas together that’ve helped him craft a record that stands out in his catalog.
Equal parts of rock and pop, “Future Boy Today/Man of Tomorrow” reveals the potential for lofty substance and dimension. Areas on the album like the title track, “Cowboy Curtains, “Heart of Wax”, and “Tomorrow From Heaven” all make pleasing uses of fundamental progressions and catching, melodies. Sometimes the songs feel like they’re floating along on flowing clouds of swirling psychedelic pop sweetness. Then the cuts that have some sharper edges, like “A Walk Across The Human Bridge” and “I Fall You Fall”, could be worked out nicely for use by Tobin’s GBV collective. There are moments of existential introspection in the lyrics that conjure vivid images in his child-like daydreams. The stylistic balance is well set, the material is cohesive, the album is ultimately a gratifying package that’s brought to life by its raw energy.
‘The Universe and Me’ was released through Fullerton, CA label Burger Records, who specializes in all shades of pop, as well as many flavors outside of the pop realms. You can order your copy from, among the usual sources, Burger Recs directly, here. They’ve had a great track record with putting out some of the best and coolest releases floating around so browse their catalog and take a chance on a few other titles while you’re at it.