Album review: Guided by Voices, “August By Cake”

by Jon E. Lynch

Guided by Voices, “August By Cake”

Available: Friday, April 7, via Rockathon Records in what appears to be just two formats: compact disc with all 32 tracks squeezed into one tight little disc or standard black vinyl, as a double LP.

One-hundred: “August By Cake” tallies Robert “Bob” Pollard’s century mark for recordings. The Guided by Voices frontman is nothing if not prolific. Scratch that. Pollard is many things, including prolific. I see him as a unique, driven talent that fronts a highly- and wildly-influential rock band. Many times throughout the aughts, I have joked with music-loving friends and with those that have and had bands of their own that the sheer rate that Pollard writes and releases music is unlike any of his peers. Maybe anyone? The joke had many variations but the same general tone: Pollard writes more songs during, ahem, his early morning coffee/tea or trip to the loo than you do. So yeah. There’s that.

This is a Guided by Voices album in name, and to me, in name alone. Pollard is the only remaining member of the “classic” GBV lineup of the early ’90s Pollard/Sprout/Mitchell/Fennell/Demos era and I suppose that’s fine. The musicians with him now are beyond apt and even include recent addition Bobby Bare Jr. What hasn’t changed is the GBV approach and aesthetic. The recording process seems flash-in-the-pan, but not to be confused with drop in quality. The lo-fi anthems and bombast are still present, making this a great addition to the canon. I respect Pollard and his approach, documenting this particular time and place. While I may prefer the albums “Bee Thousand,” “Alien Lanes,” or even “Mag Earwhig!,” I’d still rather listen to Pollard and Co. than not, and I appreciate the latest effort.

Recommended for fans of perhaps the most classic of indie-leaning rock ’n’ roll and GBV contemporaries Sebadoh, Yo La Tengo, Pavement, and Dinosaur Jr.

Jon E. Lynch[email protected]


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