Guided By Voices - Cool Planet
What remains admirable about Guided By Voices is their ongoing ability to raise the veil. By issuing six albums in less than four years, alongside innumerable EPs and singles, theirs is an artisan-like approach to the craft, not the tortured constipation that might see nine or ten songs drop into the bowl twice a decade. Sure, not everything Robert Pollard and his cohorts record achieves lift-off, but neither have they sullied the name particularly and the hit rate is probably as good as most other acts. They make it seem easy. It is, after all, only rock 'n roll.
Cool Planet is pretty reflective of everything the band have done since re-forming in 2010. Still in thrall to The Beatles, The Who and bubblegum pop in general, the main difference this time is the choice to record in a proper studio - although they retain their overall lo-fi approach. Guitarist Tobin Sprout channels Tom Petty on 'All American Boy' while the Pollard-penned highlights include all 61 seconds of the choppy 'Pan Swimmer' and toe-tapping 'Males of Wormwood Mars'. To quote the late John Peel about another bunch of particularly productive types: 'Guided By Voices - always different, always the same.'