Guided by Voices

Warp and Woof

GBV Inc.

May 15, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


On their 300th full-length album this month, Robert Pollard's erstwhile gang Guided By Voices throw out a 126,000 track nonuple album that's as good as anything, nothing, or maybe everything, they've ever released, not released, or even thought about.

But seriously folks, while every album these lovely legends throw out is hailed as a return to mid-'90s form, their best ever or their best since... their output is actually pretty consistent (or consistency inconsistent if you wanna be that guy). This continues here with their usual offering of kaleidoscopic snapshot songs evoking swiftly passing moments of absolute musical and lyrical glee, bafflement and, sometimes, jaw-popping wonder.

"Tiny Apes" is one-minute of bizarro excellence; "Blue Jay House" two minutes of addictive quirk-rock; and the longest song here, "Thimble Society," squawks with awkward, juddering, collapsing sound. It's a luxurious buffet to be heartily grazed, a pick 'n' mix selection that overflows from the peak of the paper bag and covers your shoes in sweetness.

While Warp and Woof may not boast a banger to match "The Rally Boys" from their last double album from earlier this year, Zeppelin Over China, or the majestically dumb "See My Field" (from 2018's Space Gun), there are golden nuggets of melody and movement that are simply transcendent. "Even Next" is a minimal and beautiful moment, "Out of the Blue Race" a rock 'n' roll weirdo that offers Pollard's beloved cryptic couplets in typically nonsensical, near-magical style: "Dry his face and get him out of the blue race/He's finally delivering the paper."

While the hardcore fans, and there are many, will look to any new release and tag it a classic, it's obvious that Guided By Voices are probably not going to return to the level of majesty present on the seminal Alien Lanes from '95 or even 2001's Isolation Drills, but they are one of the very, very few high-output artists around that continue to produce such interesting, entertaining work. We look forward to their millionth full-length, landing 30 seconds after the release of this one. (www.guidedbyvoices.com)

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