Guided By Voices – Class Clown Spots A UFO
Of all the bands involved in the current trend of reviving their “classic” line up probably the most welcome have been Guided By Voices. Whilst they arguably never went away and any music released by Robert Pollard can be listed as being under the moniker of GBV, it was still a huge surprise when the line-up that released seminal album ‘Bee Thousand’ was to return.
In typical GBV style this has been no retread of the past though and this, their second album in under 12 months with a third mooted for later in the year once again highlights the proficiency of the band. It has been said that if you like one song by GBV, chances are you will like the rest. Whilst this may not be quite true it certainly does count for this, ‘Class Clown Spots a UFO’.
In the world of GBV, songs only last for a couple of minutes if you are lucky, and once again Pollard does not disappoint. What is amazing is how fully formed the songs actually are. GBV seem to have tapped into a seam of music which transports you to an alternate universe where Happy Days is a reality and UFO’s just possibly may exist. Tied in with this weird analogy are some of the best harmonies this side of REM mixed in with some classic grunge era Pixies.
To make comparisons is unfair though as we must remember that GBV came first. They were the ones to set the stall out for quiet-loud, college rock, grunge, in fact any underground independent scene in America. No GBV….no Weezer, no Pixies, no lo-fi?
So what of the songs? ‘Class Clown’ starts with the ominous bass rumble Greg Demos before a yearning melody introduces us to the album. Each song is a “pocket symphony” which would make Brian Wilson proud with a myriad of surprises. Listen to the strings at the end of ‘Keep it in Motion’ or the chiming keyboards and horns at the start of ‘They and Them’ and try not to smile. Revel in the pounding riffs that prop up the album and provide some dirt in a sugary slab of delight. All college rock life is here and if you get bored (which is an impossibility with this band…trust me) there is always something new coming up in just a minutes time.
As we can never be certain what will happen in GBV’s world…will they tour? Will the next album be the last of this line-up or will they continue?…’Class Clown’ offers a chance to join their world for just a little while and enjoy their strange sunlight. Do yourself a favour and go and buy this album, it will make your summer and lift any blues away.
Released June 04 2012 through Fire Records
Posted by Martyn Coppack
Tags: album review, Class Clown Spots A UFO, Fire Records, Guided By Voices, Martyn Coppack