Is rock and roll dead yet? It certainly gets redundant every few years. Stifled, choked, beaten and bludgeoned by over-done trends and endlessly revamped genres. But Robert Pollard gets it. He understands what makes rock music thrilling. I mean thrilling in the sense that you are listening to something that knocks you back on your ass; a song that contains a melody or a lyric that unhinges you, that reminds you why you started buying records in the first place.
Much has been made about Pollard reforming his seminal band, Guided By Voices so soon after he put them to bed. Of course, if you’re keeping track, this is the classic line-up version, and it’s been fifteen years since they recorded their last record as said line-up—the brilliant, Under The Bushes Under the Stars—and who cares really? Pollard and fellow band members Tobin Sprout, Mitch Mitchell, Kevin Fennell and Greg Demos would still make music even if they didn’t make any money, hell they did that for years before Bee Thousand captured the zeitgeist of the music world. For GBV it was about making short blasts of gloriously messy music that recalled everything from bubblegum pop to metal to British Invasion, ingeniously architected by Robert Pollard, a singer/songwriter with a seemingly bottomless well of creativity. Lennon, Dylan, Redding, Bowie, Pollard. Hyperbole? Not if you listen to one of the hundreds of songs penned by Pollard, like the recent No Steamboats from his other band, Boston Spaceships. That’s rock music. That’s thrilling.
Let’s Go Eat the Factory is the logical next step in that obsession to make music. And why wouldn’t it be? A new album was what every fan was hoping for after the announcement of the classic line-up reforming, and GBV have made good on it.
The club is open again.
Above is my poster for Let’s Go Eat the Factory. Check out my comic book ad for Boston Spaceships’ Let It Beard.