Whenever Guided By Voices hit the road again, they’ll have three new albums to tour on: Surrender Your Poppy Field, Mirrored Aztec, and, now, Styles We Paid For. The band’s third album of 2020 drops December 11th, but you can hear the first single, “Mr. Child,” now.
“Mr. Child” is a poppy rocker about the titular character, a fun-loving Peter Pan who “sees a rainbow/sees no rain” — whose M.O. is to “roll with the punches and remain a child.” Still, there’s something ominous about the forever-boy, who is “long and limber,” “always rolling,” and “erasing numbers.”
“I finished the demos on February 29th and sent them to the band. I was planning on an all-analog album entitled Before Computers,” frontman Robert Pollard told Rolling Stone. “The pandemic obviously changed our recording plans and ironically it was all recorded digitally on computers. The band members recorded their parts in isolation in five different states.” Doug Gillard contributed guitars from New York, Kevin March drummed in New Jersey, Mark Shue wielded his bass in Virginia, Bobby Bare Jr. played guitar in Tennessee, and Pollard recorded his vocals in Ohio.
Despite a global pandemic that’s ground live music to a halt, GBV have remained characteristically prolific during the quarantine. This past summer, they put on a massive, audience-less show from Ohio. “It’s still selling/streaming-on-demand, but it was the biggest-selling concert on Noonchorus.com to date,” Pollard told Rolling Stone at the time. “We’re grateful for such overwhelming support and to have shared the experience with so many fans.”
“It was a little weird because you really do feed off the energy of the crowd,” he added. “It’s symbiotic and the interaction and vibe is important. That being said, it was great to be able to get together with the guys and play. To see them, hear them, and feel the energy — even without an audience.”