Guided by Voices' Golden Era Returns

[caption id="attachment_17248" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="Robert Pollard performs with Guided By Voices in Brooklyn, N.Y., June 2011. Photo: Cory Schwartz/Getty Images"][/caption]

Guided By Voices frontman Robert Pollard is such a strangely singular force of nature that it’s tough to tell how much the reconvening of GBV’s mid-‘90s lineup has to do with catering to popular demand and how much it’s simply due to his own inscrutable whims. There’s no denying we’re knee-deep in a nostalgia-crazy era in rock; terms like “classic lineup” and “in its entirety” have become ubiquitous, with everyone from classic rockers to ‘90s alt heroes stomping the boards once more to play their most beloved albums from start to finish. In fact, GBV have done the same, touring recently with a set list of chestnuts from the golden era that includes albums like 1994’s Bee Thousand and their ’96 gem Under the Bushes, Under the Stars.

But for Pollard -- an alarmingly prolific artist who frequently drops several albums a year with a dizzying array of side projects -- sticking with Tobin Sprout, Greg Demos, Mitch Mitchell, and Kevin Fennell after their classic line-up reunion tour to record Let’s Eat the Factory seems like it’s got to be a personal decision. The album isn’t due out until the 1st of January, but they released the song “The Unsinkable Fats Domino” online to tease/satiate the GBV-hungry masses.

The chugging guitars, cheery melody and Big Star-worshipping power-pop sensibilities of the song seem to support the idea that Pollard isn’t just on a commerce-minded, let’s-get-the-band-back-together trip. Complete with off-kilter lyrics (“The water is undrinkable except to the unsinkable Fats Domino”) and ultra-concise song structure in the grand GBV style, the tune doesn’t just evoke the days of “Gold Star For Robot Boy” and “I Am a Scientist,” it just sounds like it is of that era. The rest of the tracklist includes such encouragingly out-there song titles as “Doughnut for a Snowman” and “Cyclone Utilities (Remember Your Birthday),” which only adds to the indications that the vintage GBV’s second coming is truly upon us. [Stream at]