Tuesday, January 15, 2013

REVIEW: Guided by Voices - Down By The Racetrack EP (free track available now)

Guided by Voices has cranked out one for the faithful... and it's wonderful. Down By The Racetrack is a 6-song EP, a bit of a holdover from the team that brought us three of 2012's favorite records including my top disc of the year - The Bears For Lunch.

However, as those of us familiar with GbV know, "holdover" does not mean "less than ridiculously enjoyable." Because this thing is a joy - from the opener, "Amanda Grey", which is 43 seconds of Tobin Sprout's heavenly tenor over a string section, to the pounding piano and playful Pollard vocal of "Standing In A Puddle Of Flesh", they manage to fit all four P's in what looks to be a little less than 11:00 of playing time. Like previous GbV EP's Clown Prince Of The Menthol Trailer (7 songs, 10:24) and Fast Japanese Spin Cycle (8 songs, 10:22), it's short but full.

Highlights, to me, are the lo-fi, heavy rave-ups "Down By The Racetrack" (Sprout vocal) and "Pictures Of The Man" (Pollard vocal) but you know songs like "It Travels Faster Through Thin Hair" (with its "They Are Not Witches" guitar flourish intro, Pollard falsetto vocal, and acoustic/electric guitar interplay) will reveal their charms and become earworms like "My Impression Now" from Fast Japanese Spin Cycle or the original version of "Fair Touching" from Lexo And The Leapers. And who's to say we won't get any of these songs in a "full" version on a future GbV full-length? And even if we don't, any of them can become staples of the live set and deliver the kind of joy that GbV fans know and understand.

To that end, download and enjoy the delightful Pollard wordplay ballad "Copy Zero" for now, but be sure to get the whole thing next week.  Down By The Racetrack will be out Jan. 22 and is limited to 2,000 cd's and 1,500 vinyl copies. Currently you can pre-order at Rockathon Records.

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