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Guided By Voices: Motivational Jumpsuit (Album Review)

There’s no end in sight for the seemingly endless stream of album releases from lo-fi rock gods Guided By Voices. Following yet another announcement from mastermind Robert Pollard that GBV were throwing in their 31-year-old towel after last year’s English Little League, Motivational Jumpsuit, the band’s fifth studio album since the band’s recent reformation finds the band continuing to the mix of psychedelia, garage-rock, post-punk and pop that they’ve perfected over time.

Right off the top, the album opens with perfect pop tune “The Littlest League Possible,” an upbeat, catchy song that sets the tone. “Writer’s Block (Pycho All The Time)” has a steady churning guitar hook that changes midway with the aid of a great bridge, while “Child Activist” has a deep, sludgy guitar-fuelled rhythm and muffled Pollard lyrics. This begins a trend of garage-rock influenced tracks until halfway through, on “Evangeline Dandelion” and “Shine (Tomahawk Breath),” when Pollard’s brilliant songwriting takes effect. Vocals and lyrics begin to be more within the foreground and Pollard’s tongue-in-cheek wit and clever wordplay takes hold.

As most GBV songs clock in at two minutes or less, the most surprising track here is a nearly three-minute “I Am Columbus.” The only fear with Motivational Jumpsuit is that, 21 albums and countless members into GBV’s career, it will get lost in the shuffle, but given the quality, who’s counting?