Am currently listening to "Waved Out" a very good & under-rated lp w/'lots of texture & breadth'. Same goes for the Pollard solo album/guided by voices release "Not In My Airforce", especially the last 6 short acoustic tunes which have been re-released as a 7" bonus as originally intended (when purchasing the 12" vinyl long-player)
The problem with a few of Robert Pollard's releases over the past decade or 2 have been in the recording, ie, all the songs sound flat & monotonous as if the engineer or Pollard are suffering some kind of (tin ear) mental disorder.
The 'sounds flat recordings period' first began (though some cool, acoustic high notes are strummed/reached) with gbv's song "my thoughts are a gas" on 1997s 'What's Up Matador? - Greatest Hits Vol.1, disc 2." Note: The Fall/MES (Smith, Scanlon, Hanley) tune included is 'Hey Student'. nice surprise there.
So, imo, Pollard's songwriting capabilities *havent* decreased contrary to popular belief. All you have to do is listen to 'live recordings' of most any recent song to realize his songs need some 'texture & air to breathe' for that old magic to be sparked. Btw, think the past 4 or 5 GBV releases are back on track, recording wise.
Also, wish Robert Pollard would release a "2-disc live album" of recent vintage tunes with both 1) full band treatment & 2) solo/acoustic stuff instead of another 'flat release'. Bet you some pocket change that "Crickets: Best of the Fading Captain Series 1999–2007" is really good!
Think most of the recent fans would be shocked re: high quality of songwriting & how much recording techniques have an affect. ok. that's my $0.02.