US-Ohio - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 9 - 07/20/97
Guided By Voices
Haven't even placed their 1996-release, Under The Bushes, Under
The Stars up on the shelf, Guided By Voices is back again with a
new album. Their two main members, Robert Pollard and Tobin Sprout,
have even had the time to put out solo records since then, Not In
My Airforce and Carnival Boy, respectively. This is their
thirteenth album (I think), and for the first time it sounds like they
have been in a real studio (on some of the songs, that is). This may mean
that this is their first LP with better sound than their bootlegs (!).
It also seems like Robert Pollard has found himself a new Guided By
Voices (and yes, I think we must admit that it's his band). Most
of the musicians on Mag Earwhig! is from Cobra Verde (Cleveland
band with roots back to the theatrical Death Of Samantha), but Tobin
Sprout and some of the old members are still present on some of the songs.
I have to admit I had my doubt when I heard that Mr. Pollard was the only
remaining member from their last album, as Tobin Sprout's album is the far
better of the two GBV-guitarists solo releases. It therefore looks like
Tobin Sprout fans has to look elsewhere for his songs in the future, but as
long as he is releasing records under his own name, we cannot complaint.
Check also out his alter ego, Bevil Web.
On this record, GBV has turned into a tight rocking unit, and Robert
Pollard's songs are better than ever. The first song that really made me
jump in the chair, however, was I Am A Tree by newcomer Doug Gillard.
This song is so fabulously catchy that it nearly gets on your nerves, and is
good enough reason to check out earlier releases by Cobra Verde (2 LP's and a
handful of singles on Scat, SubPop, Get Hip among others). And the hits just
keep coming, Bulldog Skin, Not Behind The Fighter Jet, Little
Lines and Jane Of The Waking Universe (there are even better titles
than this on the album), a song I am willing to bet is made 500 times before.
GBV is more Beatles than ever on Mag Earwhig!, and on Learning To
Hunt, Robert Pollard is as close to John Lennon as he possibly can get.
There are more gems here, and 4-5 spins is enough to convince me that Mag
Earwhig! is Guided By Voices' best record so far. Buy!
Copyright © 1997 Pingo