Motivational Jumpsuit is the latest, bestest release by reunited indierock (whatever that means) juggernaut (means an unstoppable force) Guided By Voices. It speaks in several silvery tongues, and like last year’s English Little League takes many routes to the same shimmery, elusive destination: rock greatness. Its twenty songs (in thirty-eight minutes!) range from the shaggy Who Sell Out pop–pourri of “Evangeline Dandelion” to the lurching, rifferific “Planet Score,” breezing briskly through every worthwhile rock und roll style sheet along the way.
Pollard and co.’s influences are by now so thoroughly assimilated that Guided By voices referents are mostly to other Guided By Voices songs/eras: “Save The Company” calls to mind GBV’s Bee Thousand/Alien Lanes lo-fi glory daze, while “Vote For Dummy” could be from Isolation Drills. For instance. Recent intramural turmoil aside (Guided By Voices has a long history of members qutting/getting fired/posting private correspondence online/waking up in the gutter), the band has never sounded more cohesive; when Tobin Sprout’s insanely catchy feather-light confection “Record Level Love” bobs up against the deeply purple spray-paint rock of “I Am Columbus,” which then pinballs into the elastic, sprightly “Difficult Outburst and Breakthrough,” the pacing and variety always seem to make some kind of higher sense, if only as an appeal to the senses.
Motivational Jumpsuit is gangly, wordy, heavy, lovely, catchy, rocky, complexly simple, and better than almost any record you’ll hear this year. This is the fifth record (in three years) by New Era GBV, and there will be more. This is not counting the eleventy-three solo albums/side projects frontman Robert Pollard has released under his own name and various proxies. The listener may be forgiven a certain degree of bewilderment at the sound feast spread before him, but rest assured, this is the result of hard labor by a restlessly inventive musical mastermind. You can dig in anywhere you like, but you will always come back for more. Like a star to every wandering bark, Guided By Voices is as constant as love. You can’t say better than that.
Tracklist: Littlest League Possible / Until Next Time / Writer’s Bloc (Psycho All The Time) / Child Activist / Planet Score / Jupiter Spin / Save The Company / Go Without Packing / Record Level Love / I Am Columbus / Difficult Outburst And Breakthrough / Calling Up Washington / Zero Elasticity / A Bird With No Name / Shine Tomahawk Breath) / Vote For Me Dummy / Some Things Are Big And Some Things Are Small / Bulletin Borders / Evangeline Dandelion / Alex And The Omegas
Fire Records FIRECD337