New Release (Guided by Voices, Inc.)
This reunion album — the classic lineup’s first since 1996 — successfully echoes the much-loved Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes, from the medium-fi recording (which only enhances the killer guitar sound) to the cut-and-paste structure and the alternating of songs by Robert Pollard and Tobin Sprout. And it maintains the feel of a hopped-up band blasting in the basement, something largely missing from Pollard’s recent work (even the Boston Spaceships albums, which were largely played by two guys). But it’s more overtly psychedelic than any previous GBV, with its keyboards, reversed tapes, and quick but effective stabs of recorder and trumpet. And it’s more upbeat as well, including the exuberant “God Loves Us” and the anthemic “The Unsinkable Fats Domino,” which finds an inspirational message in Domino riding out Katrina. While there aren’t quite as many peaks as on Thousand or Lanes, the disc zips along nicely, and fans can look forward to an already recorded follow-up.
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