Guided By Voices: Class Clown Spots a UFO (Guided By Voices, Inc.) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Issue #41 - YeasayerGuided By Voices

Class Clown Spots a UFO

Guided By Voices, Inc.

Jun 12, 2012 Issue #41 - Yeasayer Bookmark and Share

It’s difficult to put a new Guided By Voices album into context these days. Robert Pollard has established a particular context of his own, individualistic and idiosyncratic as it may be. All jokes about Pollard’s incredible productivity aside, suffice it to say that Class Clown Spots a UFO is the newly re-formed GBV’s second album of 2012. And it’s not as good as the first.

Class Clown is 21 songs in just under 40 minutes and, while it is as eclectic a collection of tunes and snippets as you’d expect from Pollard and company, it’s not quite as adventurous and engaging as 2012’s earlier Let’s Go Eat the Factory. There’s nothing quite as instantly catchy as “Doughnut for a Snowman,” nothing that combines the bizarre and avant-garde with the beautiful like “Spiderfighter.” There’s no orchestration quite like “Hang Mr. Kite,” and nothing quite as psychedelically church-going as “Old Bones.”

That said, it’s not a bad album. The title track has a nice loping handclap beat and peppy chorus. “Keep It In Motion” is a great simple melody with subtle harmonies and some slight orchestral undertones. Tobin Sprout’s “Starfire” is the most gently beatific pop tune here, and there is some nice guitar wailing on “The Opposite Continues.” But elsewhere, “Blue Babbleships Bay” finds Pollard adopting a grizzled Steppenwolf-esque classic rock vocal. “Hang Up and Try Again” is sludgy and repetitive, and “Tyson’s High School” is almost metal. The rest of the tunes here are typical GBV. Which is to say, it’s better than your average album, but by the standard of Let’s Go Eat the Factory, it leaves a bit to be desired. (

Author rating: 6/10

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