Guided By Voices
Hold on Hope EP
By now, it is evident that Robert Pollard has kidnapped a pool of pop songwriters, lashed them to the walls of his Dayton, Ohio basement, force-fed them mix tapes of the Who, Big Star, and early Genesis, and left them with only a guitar and a tape recorder. How else can you account for the massive output (most of it grand) that Guided By Voices has put out? Between “official” Guided By Voices material, solo work, side bands and comps, this guy releases records more often than we change socks.
Last year’s Do The Collapse , with its Ric Ocasek production, moved the band, in simplest terms, from the review pages of the indie-scene journals and into the soundbite snippets of People magazine land. Longtime “Postal Blowfish” (as fans of band are known, in reference to the e-mail discussion list built around the group) didn’t like the album, but everyone else did. How could you not? With witty wordplay (that you could almost hear, for once) and epic guitars, the record was on many “album of the year” lists.
This 9 song EP, culled mostly from the DTC sessions, continues the same vibe, with songs such as “Underground Initiations” and “Fly Into Ashes” reminding us of earlier GBV works — strident, preachy-free pop — while “A Crick Uphill” may be one of Pollard’s best. Starting almost in a country vein, by the time the guitars of former Cobra Verde leader Doug Gillard kick in, the song has swept the listener along with tidal force. Let’s hope that Pollard keeps the scribbling popsters chained to the walls a few years more.
TVT Records, 23 East 4th St., Third Floor, New York, NY 10003; http:www.tvtrecords.com