You would think, due to Guided By Voices' prolific release schedule, that they wouldn’t have held anything back. However, they have: Suitcase 4: Captain Kangaroo Won The War is the fourth instalment of 100 rarities and previously unreleased tracks spread over 4 CDs. Limited edition too…..don’t miss out! There is also a vinyl version available
5/10 Clinton Staff review, 18 November 2015
As Robin pointed out elsewhere in the reviews this week perhaps the best art is that which is devoid of point….but there is a limit. As Robert Pollard howls uncontrollably out of tune on ‘No-One’s Looking For You’ even I find it hard to believe that he has long been one of my favourite songwriters. This is getting very very close now to the bottom of the barrel. But between the half formed ideas and caterwauling there are the odd things of interest here. ‘Clean It Up’ is the long unheard original version of the song which contained the ‘Tractor Rape Train’ chorus, ‘Doctor Boyfriend’ is shambolically tuneful and...er......um....I don’t (and never again) want to hear ’No Bird’ which we’ve just declared the worst Guided by Voices song ever. ‘Skin High’ is an awful discordant racket that you wouldn’t inflict on your worst enemy.
Mainly it’s trash with the odd slither of good and at times sounds more like Pollard solo than GBV (though that particular dividing line has become increasingly blurred as the years go by). In fact I’ve spent a lot of my time listening to this trying to work out the era of these shards of sound from Pollards increasingly strained voice. ’Strange Games’ sounds like his ’Sandbox’ era voice but too much sounds far too recent to be of value to trawlers of the lost vaults.
If the truncated vinyl edition is ‘patchy’ then God help the CD with 81 bonus tracks.
6/10 Jules Customer review, 8th January 2016
I've given this 6/10 and that would appear to be a lukewarm rating, wouldn't it? The kind of record that you listen to a couple of times and then file away, or maybe just pick out a couple of favourite songs for your [insert name of digital device here]. The truth is that after three previous Suitcases I knew what to expect. For these are Robert Pollard's table scraps. Items rescued from his ever-growing files of "shit-canned" projects and demo cassettes. So for the fourth instalment of flotsam and jetsam to get 6/10 is pretty good going. Especially as each Suitcase contains 100 tracks. Yes, Mr Pollard writes a lot of songs.
And yes, some of these are real honest-to-God barrel scrapings, but there's also some nuggets of gold in them thar hills. There's also a vinyl distillation (just 22 tracks) called Briefcase Four, which I bought from the folks at Norman Records. Three of the tracks on the Briefcase don't appear on the Suitcase. Two of these are very brief instrumentals but the third is called Eyes Re-Load and is actually pretty good. Most of the best songs from the CD version appear on the vinyl, but not all of them, and I suspect that every GbV fan would pick a totally different selection. All of which is to say that if Suitcase Four is for hardcore fans only, Briefcase Four is probably only for fetishists. The vinyl also comes with a download card unless someone has already opened up the sealed shrinkwrap and let it fall on the floor before sending it out. Ahem. (Wrists have been severely slapped - ed).
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- Suitcase 4: Captain Kangaroo Won The War by Guided By Voices
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