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Prime Time Review - Guided by Voices enhances prolific reputation

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Evan Hofmann

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Indie rock and Lo-Fi music trailblazers, Guided by Voices, have become one of the longest running bands in the genre. Begun in 1983 in Dayton Ohio, the band has released more than 20 albums that have generated a cult following across generations. More impressive, however, is the fact that the band has shown absolutely no sign of slowing itself down.

The band’s most recent album, Motivational Jumpsuit, was released on Feb. 18. Reviews for the album have been primarily positive, which is to be expected from such an established rock outfit. The new release does not push any boundaries or break any barriers of music. Instead, Motivational Jumpsuit is a token of what GBV is known for, short and sweet tracks with fuzzy power chords and pop rock melodies. With the longest track clocking in at mere seconds over three minutes, the 20-track album can feel a little rushed and disjointed at times. GBV’s songs do not always necessarily flow or mesh with one another across an album as a whole, which may seem a bit novitiate to some, but also quite refreshing to others. Guided by Voices has never been a band that attempts to create synthetic and elaborate productions with each album. Instead, Motivational Jumpsuit and its predecessors harbor an organic garage band sentiment, albeit a garage band that has become overwhelmingly talented at writing guitar driven rock ballads with infectious melodies.

Guided by Voices is fueled by the artistic vision of singer-songwriter Robert Pollard. At 56 years old, Pollard has become a bit legendary in the underworld of Indie pioneers. On average, Pollard’s collective musical projects produce roughly six albums per year, most of which are written by the guitarist himself. One of the most prolific songwriters of our time, Pollard has written an estimated 1,600 songs that have been produced by record companies. In essence, the songwriter is more productive each year than most rock bands are in their entire existence.

Given Pollard’s unwaveringly fruitful output of musical movements, it is no surprise that Guided by Voices is already planning the release of their next album, which they announced a mere two weeks after the release of Motivational Jumpsuit. On May 13, GBV will unleash Cool Planet on loyal fans that have become enthralled with the band’s relentlessness and tenacity. The album was recorded in wintery Ohio during this year’s polar vortex and will receive a wide release via the band’s own record label, Guided by Voices inc. Comprised of 18 rock and roll tracks, there is little doubt that Cool Planet will harbor the same brief and crunchy song structure that has Guided by Voices has become known for. It may not be the most marketable or appealing style to new listeners, but it has gotten the Indie rock journeymen this far, and 31 years in the music business is not half bad.

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Evan Hofmann

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