Well, here it is. This is going to be the most useless post that I have ever written.
Why? Well, because if you are a Guided By Voices fan, then you are a fanatic. I really don’t think that there are any casual GBV fans out there. This is just one of those bands. Shellac is another, and maybe Stereolab is yet another. The point is, they are all bands that inspire completist culture. And, Guided By Voices tends (or at least tended to) take advantage of this by releasing about 50 albums a week. Or maybe it’s more than that. I think at this point basically every sound that Robert Pollard has ever made has been recorded and some fan somewhere is in possession of it, listening to it with their equally fanatical friends, analyzing it, fitting it into the larger picture of Guided By Voices apocrypha, and then insisting that everyone around them listen to it. The point being: the internet doesn’t need a review of a Guided By Voices album. The only the internet needs to do is to let people know that there is a new Guided By Voices album coming out. That’s it. And it only needs to be said once.
Guided By Voices doesn’t need album reviews anymore at all actually, their fans are going to buy it. I would be willing to bet that the band has sold the exact same number of albums for the past 10 releases. And if Robert Pollard and co. released a cassette tape recording of the band discussing the weather, it would sell just as well.
Of course these are my own very biased opinions. In reality I do know that there are some really amazing GBV albums and songs. The first album of theirs that I ever had (bet you didn’t see that coming. That I was going to reveal myself as a GBV fan) was “Universal Truths and Cycles.” Not too long afterward the band released their “final” album “Half Smiles of the Decomposed.” It looked like they were going to go away forever, but we know now that that is very not true.
Well, now they have re-formed. There has been drama, excitement, thrills and chills, and I’m sure that this album is going to carry on the trajectory. Hit. Miss. Too much. Whatever. Rob Pollard can certainly be prolific that much is true. But say what you will, the guy can sure write a tune. Often times those tunes are tightly packed into 2-minutes or less. Get in, say what you gotta say, and get out. Don’t overstay your welcome. What other band can fit a catchy, exciting verse-chorus-verse-outro into a 35 second long song? And on top of that who would dare to make that the first track on the album? Answer: none. (see: “Wire Greyhounds”). That right there sums them up. That is the thesis behind Guided By Voices. But they aren’t just cranking out songs in less than a minute. When they do stretch out with a song that is over 2 minutes, or sometimes even pushing closer to 4 (“Christian Animation Torch Carriers,” for example) they can really floor you.
Anyway, they have a new album coming out. Here’s a link. February 18. CD/LP/MP3/FLAC.