In the 1990s, Guided by Voices were like a mythic one-legged Third World distance runner who miraculously overcomes adversity to win a medal. Despite manifest deficits – lousy sound quality, half-finished songs, titles like “Kicker of Elves” – their albums were tune orgies, suggesting Cheap Trick getting Schlitzed in a Midwestern rec room. The band’s first since 2004 is no different. Robert Pollard and Tobin Sprout toss off minute-long power-pop goofs that make intermittent blasts of real-rock transcendence – like “The Unsinkable Fats Domino,” a riff-hammering tribute full of collegial affection – feel all the more striking. GBV are unsinkable too.
Listen to “The Unsinkable Fats Domino”: