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The new album by Guided By Voices: In the beautifully will-o’-the-wisp “La La Land”

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Did Robert Pollard want to allude to the film of the same name with the title of this new album by his band Guided By Voices: “La La Land”? Or aimed at the affectionately approximate nickname of the city of Los Angeles? Even a will-o’-the-wisp state of mind?

It’s not really apparent after listening to the eleven songs on this album, as there is something cryptic about most of the band’s lyrics. Pollard is a master at writing Dada and nonsense lines, as long as they are cute, weird or funny.

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What is revealed in its entirety: That Guided By Voices are musically in top form. That’s saying something for a band that’s been around since the early 1990’s; who had broken up twice before, but have been releasing albums continuously since 2017. You can hardly keep up with the counting. Last year there were three albums. La La Land, this year’s first, is set to be the 38th Guided By Voices album.

Cover of “La La Land”
© Guided By Voices

Lo fidelity rock at its best, that’s how it was in the beginning, that’s how it is now. Pollard knows how to fit five ideas into two minutes, complete with pop appeal, including a voice that knows how to convey tragedy and exuberance and is enormously tinny. In any case, Pollard has never had anything on the microphone with Autotune.

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The band is continuing what was indicated in 2022 even more intensively: here a fast anthem, the opening song “Another day to heal”, there a pinch of prog rock, here a Beatles moment, there The Who. But then an epic like “Slowly on the wheel”, by which Pollard perhaps means the song tempo.

Unusual leisureliness in the GBV house, which only dissolves in a jubilant middle part of the song. Of course not the latest under the rock sun – but “La La Land” shines and shines.

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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