Arguably best known for a stint in Bob Pollard’s Guided by Voices in the 90s, and for writing and cowriting some of the band’s most beloved songs off some of their most revered albums, Tobin Sprout has also spent time as a solo artist, who has five previously full-length albums under his belt. Now, as you know the classic 90s Guided By Voices lineup had reunited over the past decade and then split up again with the various members focusing on a variety of creative pursuits — and for Sprout, it meant a renewed focus on his solo career.
The Universe and Me, Sprout’s sixth full-length, solo effort is slated for a February 3, 2017 release through renowned indie label Burger Records and the album reportedly focuses on the search for one’s place in the cosmos — and how the acceptance of aging makes such a search desperate and urgent. Additionally, material on the album focuses on maintaining a childlike curiosity and wonder. In fact, much of the material is the result of a seven-year “gestation” period that included Sprout unearthing lost recordings and demos and digging through his boyhood memories from his Michigan home studio where he had recorded the material, live with his new backing band, capturing a first thought, best thought kind of recording sessions. In fact, through the sessions Sprout and company focused on feeling — instead of production.
Interestingly, The Universe and Me‘s first single “Future Boy Today/Man of Tomorrow” was an unearthed recording that was initially written and intended for Guided By Voices — and in many ways while sounding as though it should have (and could have) been a great B side, the song captures a childhood obsession with comics and superheroes and the uncertain transition to adulthood, complete with the bitter acceptance of uneasy compromises while you try to find a purpose for your life — but with a sly winking sense of humor that belies the grungy and super serious, 90s alt rock sound.