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Tape on Fire / Bad Paintings. Edition of 150 copies.
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Due to their plethora of never ending releases surely GBV must now be our most reviewed band. I’ve been a little harsh on some of their recent singles, particularly the throwaway B-sides, but it seems that once the albums come around there is plenty to write good things about. Of last years trilogy, ’Class Clown Spots a UFO’ was the pick of the bunch, one of their best since ‘Bee Thousand’ in my humble opinion.
This new one too is sounding remarkably excellent. Straight away on opener ‘Xeno Pariah’ the knack for a pop hook is in evidence and the production is just where I like it for Guided By Voices, fuzzy, fizzing, raw but not too dishevelled and none of the studio sheen that made some of their pre-split albums a little prosaic. The songwriting as usual is split between Pollard, 12, and Sprout 3 and they split a couple.
There are a couple of tracks which don’t sound very GBV, ‘Know Me As Heavy’ has an unusual vocal and I can’t tell who is singing, ‘The Quiet Game’ is a very atonal effort from the usually sweet and tuneful Tobin Sprout. When it’s at its best as on the singles ‘Trashcan Full of Nails’ and ‘Noble Insect’ it’s up with their best work. They just do what they do extremely well and with their usual slapdash charm. It wouldn’t be Guided By Voices if there wasn’t filler and there are a few things you will skip but there is absolutely no way that this is not coming home with me at close of business tonight. Comes with a most useful bonus CD of tracks off the recent singles.
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