Class Clown Spots a UFO

[Guided by Voices Inc.]

You’d think Robert Pollard had something to prove. Although the singer and songwriter kept plenty busy on his own during (and after) Guided by Voices’ 2004-2010 hiatus, he seems to have barely dipped into his always-towering stockpile of songs. The band’s latest is the second of three albums planned for release this year, and it’s trademark GBV: 21 songs in 39 minutes, from fragmentary sketches to fully formed lo-fi pop gems. The title track is one of the latter, crackling with bright guitars and Pollard’s faux-British accent, while “They and Them” floats briefly past on acoustic guitar and surprisingly tight vocal harmonies. There are plenty of ramshackle moments as well—“Worm W/ 7 Broken Hearts” is a 50-second burst of Eastern-flavored guitar, shouted vocals and tape hiss—but it all harks back to the wobbly charm Guided by Voices established on seminal early ’90s albums like Propeller and Bee Thousand. –Eric R. Danton

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