catalogue

GUIDED BY VOICES

CLASS CLOWN SPOTS A UFO (FIRE RECORDS)

GUIDED BY VOICES - CLASS CLOWN SPOTS A UFO 54810
format:
1 LP
release:
22.06.2012
label:
FIRE RECORDS
item ID:
54810
barcode:
0809236124913
The new GUIDED BY VOICES album is the best thing the band has recorded since the last album by the legendary Dayton, Ohio rockers.

That's not meant facetiously: the last thing GUIDED BY VOICES recorded was the rapturously received "Let's Go Eat The Factory", and "Class Clown Spots A UFO" ups the ante raised by that stellar effort, both in terms of recording fidelity (boring!) and songcraft (not boring!).

One could argue there's more depth and variety here than on "Alien Lanes", that there are better songs here than on "Bee Thousand", but that's an argument no one's ever going to win, at least definitively.

And this album is a win, by any (definitive) definition. "Class Clown Spots A UFO" is classic GBV, starting with the head-body-head combination of "He Rises (Our Union Bellboy)," "Blue Babbleship Bay," and "Forever Until It Breaks" before finishing you off with the title track, a ridiculously catchy, melodically-complex, shot-through-with-melancholia song that serves as a kind of sadder and wiser riposte to XTC's "Making Plans For Nigel" as performed by the Hollies.

If that makes any sense at all (it will when you hear it, hopefully). And that's just the first four songs of a 21-track album clocking in at just under 40 minutes.

We've yet to get to "Keep It In Motion," a propulsive, drum-machine driven pop song which features, unusually, acoustic guitars, strings, and Bob/Toby singing together in a way not heard since "14 Cheerleader Coldfront" on 1992's Propeller.

Possibly. (The song was one of a few that Bob recorded and sent to Toby at his home studio in Michigan for over-dubbing.) Nor have we discussed galvanic rocker "Jon the Croc," a clear single candidate, or "Chain To The Moon," one of the saddest and (why not?) prettiest songs Pollard has ever written.

In between you get wah-wah guitar solos, a wide range of unusual recording techniques of varying fidelity (but, as referenced above, much less of the murk lurking on "Let's Go Eat The Factory"), and a generous helping of "Alien Lanes"-style snippets.

In fact, the sequencing of "Class Clown Spots A UFO" seems to hearken back to that landmark LP - as on "Alien Lanes", songs bleed into each other, fadeouts segue into fadeins, short bursts of melodic rock ("Billy Wire," "Roll of the Dice, Kick in the Head") jut against somber chamber pop ("They and Them," "Starfire").

The last song, the anthemic "No Transmission," if played at the proper volume, will in fact blow your mind (and your windows).

The band is about to finish their third record since reuniting, because you'll find out sooner or later.

A side benefit of Pollard's for-now decision to call it quits on touring is that you get more GUIDED BY VOICES albums.

It's really hard to see how that's not a great thing for everyone. Because it is a great thing for everyone.

Obviously.
 
  • Tracklisting
  • 1.1. HE RISES! (OUR UNION BELLBOY)
  • 1.2. BLUE BABBLESHIPS BAY
  • 1.3. FOREVER UNTIL IT BREAKS
  • 1.4. CLASS CLOWN SPOTS A UFO
  • 1.5. CHAIN TO THE MOON
  • 1.6. HANG UP AND TRY AGAIN
  • 1.7. KEEP IT IN MOTION
  • 1.8. TYSON'S HIGH SCHOOL
  • 1.9. THEY AND THEM
  • 1.10. FIGHTER PILOT
  • 1.11. ROLL OF THE DICE, KICK IN THE HEAD
  • 1.12. BILLY WIRE
  • 1.13. WORM W_
  • 1.14. BROKEN HEARTS
  • 1.15. STARFIRE
  • 1.16. JON THE CROC
  • 1.17. FLY BABY
  • 1.18. ALL OF THIS WILL GO
  • 1.19. THE OPPOSITE CONTINUES
  • 1.20. BE IMPECCABLE
  • 1.21. LOST IN SPACE
  • 1.22. NO TRANSMISSION