Guided by Voices say good-bye to another prolific year while ringing in a new one | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Guided by Voices say good-bye to another prolific year while ringing in a new one 

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click to enlarge Guided by Voices

Guided by Voices

Matt Cowan

In August, Guided by Voices, who re-formed again last year after a sudden breakup in 2014, released their 24th long-player, How Do You Spell Heaven. Even more impressively, the album is the 101st full-length ultraprolific front man and sole constant member Robert Pollard has put his stamp on. The version of GBV that’s been operating over the past couple years is a far cry from the band that released fractured bedroom-pop masterpieces throughout the 80s and 90s. Gone is the whimsy of fellow lead singer Tobin Sprout, the layers of tape hiss, and the 30-second blasts of lo-fi majesty. They’ve been replaced with the bombast of new guitarist Bobby Bare Jr. and the slick leads of returning guitar hero Doug Gillard. The songs on How Do You Spell Heaven and August by Cake (which came out in April) explore Pollard’s obsession with prog rock, offering up meandering structures and song lengths that edge into the four-minute mark—which is downright indulgent when you realize the band’s iconic 1995 track “Game of Pricks” is 93 seconds long. Live, this lineup of the band play perhaps a little too much of the new shit to keep diehards totally happy, but when the classics come out they’re simply glorious. Guided by Voices have just announced LP number 25: Space Gun is set to drop in March, and its title track and first single follows down the same trails they spent 2017 blazing.   v

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