WINE CORK STONHENGE
(2018, Guided by Voices Inc.)
Welcome to the first round of the newest Pollard and gang EPs; a sordid collection of tracks. On December 7, 2018 GBV dropped the first two of four announced EPs: Wine Cork Stonehenge and 100 Dougs. According to the band, these tracks were made on the fly, trying to capture some of that mid-90s magic with the current line-up. No thoughts, whether too big or small, were kept out of these recordings, it seems.
Sure enough, keeping in the spirit of the traditional GBV EP, both releases are loose and more off-the cuff than their the last couple LPs (although nowhere near as loose as 2013's disappointing Down By the Racetrack EP). Unlike some of the stone-cold classic GBV EPs of the '90s, these songs are presented in a higher fidelity, fleshed out, although warped in their own way. Speaking of "WARPED," Pollard has said in late 2018, all four EPs would see release as the Warp and Woof LP in 2019. Yes, all 24 tracks from the four 7" EPs would be collected onto one LP, with different track order and title. Get your wallets ready kids!
All EPs in this collection are limited to 1000 7'' copies on black vinyl.
Stay tuned as I post these, and then repost them later in 2019, under the title Warp and Woof. Oh Lord.
My Angel- 5 A quick, instant classic. This almost feels like cut and paste Pollard material, but one you're never too tired to revisit. So simplistic, so joyous. The hooks throughout are pure, almost coming off as too easy. Additionally, the guitar crunch on this is fantastic. Also, dig that auxiliary percussion! All at under a minute and a half. Now that's QUALITY GBV EP material.
The Stars Behind Us- 4 More familiar territory for GBV. Feels like a mid-tempo, ho-hum riff we've heard a million times before, but never gets old. Gillard holds this together with some warbled guitar leads, all while the band plays in front of screaming fan sound effects, which is good for a laugh. The song does feel like it misses the opportunity to cash in on several killer hook moments, but the lead-out is a solid payoff.
Skull Arrow- 1 One minute of chugging acoustic and lead guitar garbage. Pollard drops some lame rhyme schemes and calls it a day. A phoned-in track; one that sounds like some leftover Todd Tobias' solo recording from off of, say Standard Gargoyle Decisions.
Thimble Society- 4 Repetitive, low budget industrial-prog guitar and drum backbone holds it down as Pollard lays down a nice, strong double vocal showing. When living on the odder side of life, this one begins to pay off with repeated listens.
Tiny Apes- 2 Another tune just over a minute that jerks around for 28 seconds, sounding like a rickety surf rocker, before busting into a solid tune for 6 entire seconds. Pollard saves it somewhat with a strong ending in the vocal department. Case study in what happens when a dumb soundcheck riff gets turned into song!
The Pipers, The Vipers, The Snakes!- 4 Clunky mid-tempo closer that is more wholly familiar GBV territory. Solid harmonies throughout hold this one together. Musically; short on ideas, but rewarding after a few spins on the turntable.