Texas’ Bill Baird is one of the last surviving rock ’n’ roll geniuses. As the brains behind the brilliant Sunset, a principal member of Sound Team, and as a solo artist, the consistent quality and volume of the Austin enigma’s creative output over the past six years is rivaled in recent history only by the early years of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, but thankfully without Anton Newcombe’s messiah complex. That’s not to say Baird isn’t eccentric, ’cause he most certainly is, but that he manages to functionally channel most of his eccentricities into his warped, psychedelic recordings.
Career was written, recorded, and performed by Baird, with Jordan Johns on drums and a little help from Willis McClung on the side. This effervescent record sees a much different musical approach than Baird’s previous solo album, 2011’s Goodbye Vibrations, which was one of those “lonely dude in a hotel room pouring his soul into a 4-track recorder” kinda things. Maintaining the analog lo-fi noise production, Career is a classic rock throwback effort, far more in the Velvet Underground vein than The Beatles, the influence of which is heard on the Sunset albums. The album is bursting with snappy beats, ballsy guitar swagger, and multi-tracked vocals drenched in broken reverb snarling daring social observations and visceral poetry. “Like Jimi Hendrix took NyQuil instead,” indeed.