Nineteen ninety-eight was a year of no Guided By Voices album.
The “Classic” Line-up broke up in 1996, soon replaced by the
“Cobra Verde” line-up and the “Mag Earwhig!” album and tour in 1997.
but that line-up split up soon after.
Imagine my surprise going to the cd store and
finding a new Robert Pollard solo album.
I had been a fan for a few years and
I had devised a way of listening to new GBV albums for the first time.
I would listen to five songs over and over, till I knew them.
Get used to five songs at a time.
once I get to the end of the album, I know the album well.
Then listen to the whole album.
What made me get used to this album faster is there are only 15 songs
as opposed to most GBV albums with up to twenty-eight.
Except for some guest appearances, Bob plays almost every instrument on the album,
proving Bob was not just the singer of Guided By Voices,
but the guiding force.
About four or five of these songs would be performed during the
“Do The Collapse” tour.
I saw the new GBV line-up in 2016 and they performed “Make Use” and
“Subspace Biographies” which are among the albums many highlights.
“Whiskey Ships”, “Steeple of Knifes” and “Waved Out” are instant Classics.
The album ends on a Psychedelic bent, with “Showbiz Opera Walrus”
coming unhinged at the end, sounding like a warped record, phase shifting,
with the sounds of a Pig (or a Walrus) speaking and clapping,
“Pick Seeds From My Skull” sounds like Neil Young right before leaving the Buffalo Springfield.
“People are Leaving” is an experiment with Bob singing on top of a pre-recorded track,
which is a technique Bob will use more in the future in collaborations with other artists.
With this album I was happy to know that with GBV or not,
Bob will give us some great music.
Of course little did I know,
the Flood gates would some fly open.