Guided By Robert Pollard

Guided By Voices
Down By The Racetrack

2013
by Propellerless

By the time “Down By The Racetrack” was released,
the reunited “Classic Line-up of Guided By Voices had
three albums under their belt and over ten singles.

All of that in little more than a year,
who else but Robert Pollard and GBV could pull that off?
By the time the reunion would be over,
they would release three more albums and even more singles.

I’ve seen many bands reunite, some of my favorites,
always disappointing.
As usual GBV is the exception to the rule.
“Down By The Racetrack” is the half-time show,
of The Classic Line-up reunion.

“Down By The Racetrack” is like the eps from
the bands earlier days, “Static Airplane Jive”,
“Fast Japanese Spin Cycle” and “Sunfish Holy Breakfast”.
Which were even more Lo-Fi than the bands albums
and less rehearsed.

To many of us long time GBV fans,
those are some of the gems.
“Down By The Racetrack” is that kind of ep.

“It Travels Faster Through Thin Hair” sounds like an outtake
from the “Sunfish Holy Breakfast” sessions,
with the droning acoustic guitar and Bobs dreamy vocals.

The guitar riff of “Pictures Of The Man” sounds like early 90’s era GBV,
The industrial drone sounds like a Todd Tobias production.
Cool Psychedelic Garage noise rock, with a strong chorus.
It would feel comfortable on the “Plantations of Pale Pink” ep.
A Favorite.

Tobin Sprout’s beautifully dreamy psychedelic “Amanda Gray”,
is a highlight of the record, clocking in at only forty-four seconds.
Could be longer.
A Gem nevertheless.
Love the mellotron, very Beatlish.

“Standing In A Puddle Of Flesh” which is basically just piano, drums
and Bobs vocal, sounds like it was made up at the moment of its
recording.
I’m not saying that as a negative,
because Bob has a talent of recording something
from the top of his head and it ends up good.
But with a little work it could be great.

I wouldn’t mind if “Copy Zero” was twice as long,
it comes in at under two minutes in length.
It’s got that,
“Driving-through-miles-of-Desert-Highway-in-the-Summer-with-the-windows-down” feeling,
but you can always hit replay.

“Down By The Racetrack” is a cool Tobin Sprout rocker,
which mentions guitarist Mitch Mitchell by name.

“Look inside your pocket, Mitch
Down by the Racetrack
Stand on your head, Mitch
Down by the Racetrack
Smoking cigarettes
Down by the Racetrack
Playing your guitar
Down by the Racetrack”.

Another cool GBV ep, not to be missed.
Still available from Rockathon on cd and 7” vinyl
for five and six dollars, well worth it.

By the way,
Bob, isn’t it time for another ep