Guided By Voices’ boundless catalog is full of bite-size infectious pop songs. “She Lives in an Airport,” from The Bears for Lunch – the reunited lo-fi legends’ third LP of 2012, due November 13th – isn’t necessarily one of them. “It’s certainly not the poppiest song on the album and it doesn’t even really have a chorus,” guitarist Tobin Sprout tells Rolling Stone. He says the song sets the stage for the overall feel of Bears.
“[It] has a great lyric and tempo,” Sprout says. “Listen to it two to three times with headphones and you’ll be hooked, even without a chorus.”
Clocking in at three-plus minutes – relatively long for a GBV song – “She Lives in an Airport” matches a chunky, minor-key looping guitar riff with a driving mid-tempo groove. Flying high above the riffage, frontman Robert Pollard sings an ode to a mysterious saint of in-flight service.
“The frequent arrivals make my destination destiny / Constant service makes one nervous / Go-getter, real jetsetter / She gets me back at a reasonable hour / Within good reason, within her power,” Pollard croons of his muse in his trademark fake-British rasp.
Although Sprout doesn’t try to dissect his bandmate’s often inscrutable, idiosyncratic wordplay, it keeps him coming back for more.
“Each time I hear one of [Pollard’s] songs I find something I hadn’t heard before and I think that is what makes the songs last,” Sprout says. “They keep offering something new. Whether he means to or not, you kind of peel away the onion.”
“Hangover Child,” a rumbling, wistful, catchier counterpart to “She Lives in an Airport,” will be the first single from The Bears for Lunch. While that song is currently a staple of recent GBV set lists, the band has already wrapped recording on Bears‘ follow-up, English Little League, which is tentatively slated for release next spring. Sprout says the band cut the record in the same slapdash, spontaneous style as they did during their glory days as lo-fi indie-rock luminaries.
“We recorded as we always do,” he explains. “Practice the songs ahead of time then go to the studio, run through a song and record it – mostly first take.”
He continued, “We still record like we did on Devil Between My Toes,” the band’s debut.