6/30/2017

Guided By Voices - 'How Do You Spell Heaven'

Guided By Voices - 'How Do You Spell Heaven'
Out Friday August 11th, 2017 via GBV INC.

Listen & Share: Guided By Voices - "Just To Show You"

Guided By Voices is on a roll. You could argue, but please don't because I have a headache, that GBV is never not on a roll, that Robert Pollard's output plows past the word "prolific" like prolific is standing still in a snowbank; and that's true, but this new version of the band (Doug Gillard, Bobby Bare Jr, Mark Shue, Kevin March) has given Pollard new tools to complement his song-hammer. Thus, ergo, quod erat demonstrandum: roll.

Hot on the heels of the smothered-in-plaudits double album August By Cake comes this hot and heavy fifteen-tune long player, a melody-dense thwack to the earholes that will both energize you and deplete your body of its remaining music-appreciation enzymes. Recorded by the band in New York, and by Bob in Ohio, How Do You Spell Heaven capitalizes on the current incarnation's tour-buffed shine without sacrificing eternal GBV verities such as but not limited to: off-kilter rhythmic jolts; krazy chords; purposefully imperfect harmonies; and fragmented structures that start and stop on a coin of small denomination and go somewhere else, and quickly.

For example: Leadoff track "The Birthday Democrats" features a surfeit of pop hooks and swaggering sure-footed wordplay before dissolving like a perfect dream into Beatles-esque sound collage. "King 007" starts off like an acoustic demo from Tommy before shifting gears into a galloping riff-driven hyperspace guitar battle, before pivoting back to some kind of weirdo hybrid of the two… and then stops short just when you think you've got the thing pinned down. "Pearly Gates Smoke Machine" opens like the best thing Marc Bolan never wrote and then stubbornly refuses to cohere into an actual song, instead serving as a platform for some entertainingly normcore guitar pyrotechnics, while "How To Murder A Man" channels David Bowie channeling Scott Walker. Is this enough? Is it ever? How about "Nothing Gets You Real," a deceptively straightforward breezy number that sounds like Pollard looking back at his life-in-rock and nodding, with a melancholy smile, at past versions of himself. It'll make you cry, if you have a human heart.

There's more, much more, but you know that already. The easiest, laziest way to sum up GuidedBy Voices' latest album, the move we can't fail to resist making, is the most obvious: How do you spell heaven? Shout it from the rafters: G-B-V!
Guided By Voices Tour Dates:
July
28 – Chicago, IL. @ Beat Kitchen – SOLD OUT
29 – Chicago, IL. @ Wicker Park Festival (suggested $10 donation at the door)
August
16 – Cincinnati, OH @ The Woodward
17 – Bloomington, IN. @ The Castle Theatre
19 – Minneapolis, MN. @ Hilde Performance Center ^
20 – Milwaukee, WI. @ Turner Hall
31 – Baltimore, MD. @ Otto Hall
September
01 – Asbury Park, N.J. @ House of Independents
08 – Rehoboth Beach, DE. @ Dogfish Head Brewery (FREE SHOW)
(^ = w/ Soul Asylum and The Suicide Commandos)
 

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