Guided By Voices - Class Clown Spots A UFO

Really, our friend from the It's A Thing! podcast, one Mr. Jared Horney should be writing this review. I am aware of, at times love, and often enjoy the work of Robert Pollard and Guided By Voices (henceforth, GBV), but Jared is an expert. He has regaled me with tales of Alien Lanes, explained the band's unique origins, defended and decried Robert Pollard's prolific ubiquity, but most of all he has shared his continuous passion for this band with me time and time again. GBV is the consummate indie band (Pavement aside). They used Lo-Fi because they had to, not for an aesthetic. It has led us down some interesting paths. A year ago, I gifted Jared a Robert Pollard card (on his Facebook wall) wherein Pollard exclaims, "I've been guided by voices to wish you a Happy Birthday." Pod-comrade Mikey recently created an amazing Game of Thrones throne of swords parody image featuring Pollard atop a throne of liquor bottles for Jared as well. This is the kind of fandom, not fanaticism, we're talking about.

Jared should be writing this review. I know that I love me some GBV, specifically the numerous times that Pollard struck gold. However, I find myself less interested in the times when he strikes only granite. I am not a staunch defender of the catalog, but I do love the work ethic. Hell, I envy it. I have olde school Bible sinned because of how much I wish I was like Robert Pollard. Oh well. With Class Clown Spots A UFO, the band's second reunion album of this year, we receive a bounty of 21 new songs. That makes 42 this year, which may actually be a sign of a slow down for GBV, but then, who's counting. On Class Clown Pollard's voice is more clearly at the forefront. The songs are peppy, poppy, and energized. This is some of GBV's best work, actually. The title track is exceptional. "Keep It In Motion" and "Billy Wire" are both wonderful. And it's only with a few minor exceptions, 2 - 4 perhaps, that Class Clown represents a must-have album, for indie rock lovers and GBV fans. The '60s vibe of "Starfire" is enough to sell you right there.

But there's a problem. A minor one. But one that is ALWAYS a problem for GBV. The songs are great, but often too short. And that means you barely get a taste before they're over. It's, at times, like listening only to the previews of the tracks. This is what Pollard does. It's the cost of admission. We accept it because we cannot NOT accept it. Still, Class Clown feels like an appetizer often. A really fucking good one. Maybe it would be too rich to eat as a meal. Maybe that's the issue. There's such a thing as too much of a good thing.

Check out Class Clown Spots A UFO below via Spotify:

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