Guided by Voices
Under the Bushes Under the Stars


4.5
superb

Review

by robin EMERITUS
October 6th, 2008 | 44 replies


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Champions officially!

How many songs have you listened to that you could imagine yourself writing more than you could its original brainchild? For that matter, has this ever applied to music that no one cared about in the first place?

I merely ask because whenever I listen to Robert Pollard, I secretly am disheartening myself. It’s plain to a fan that, bluntly, you care more than he does. Was Bee Thousand supposed to be a classic? A heartily under produced, barely attached twenty songs that talk about such themes as kicking elves, getting wet, and most importantly: nothing. To anyone who cares enough, it simply was not designed to be as groundbreaking as they believe. The pattern repeats itself all too much in Guided By Voices’s discography; here lies just under nine hundred songs, on a good day spread over more than two minutes, resembling impatience. This impatience isn’t even rational; getting one album out of the way to make another album with the same ideas, as fast as possible, over and over again. So, with context plaguing my mind, I must again remind myself – why is Under The Bushes Under The Stars so incredible?

If anything, Under The Bushes Under The Stars implies that the shorter the attention span, the better music gets. Blissfully unfinished ideas are everywhere; they are present as the half-sentimental “Bright Paper Werewolves” breaks from its quietly subtle verse to its desperately emotive chorus – one of each, with a thirty second split and only one instrument to show for it. Again, “To Remake The Young Flyer” triumphs in discovering just one thing, without really expanding beyond swirls of guitar and a brief, thunderous pause that makes Guided By Voices the listening experience they create. A song so inconsistent you wonder if it were improvised, only to abruptly create two or three seconds of intensity, which never again will return.

At the same time, Under The Bushes Under The Stars is an oddity in that it is the first encounter with a truly ‘epic’ Pollard creation. As briefly as “Rhine Jive Click” has provided some instant fun, there “Cut Out Witch” unexpectedly arrives. It comes out in drivels and drabs, a menacingly speedy song disguised as sinister and slow. It’s another busy day for the cut-out witch/cold needles in her eyes then we realise/it’s another busy day for the cut-out witch accolade the rather unaware brilliance perfectly. “Redmen and their Wives” enjoys the novella eeriness once more, with a somewhat atmospheric backdrop of chimes for what is otherwise a delicately transiting rock ballad. So much can be crammed into three minutes on Under The Bushes Under The Stars that could be so hard to contain so vaguely to other artists. These peculiar giants of tunes somehow make a more bizarre listening experience than all the jangle pop abound on the record, and ultimately make Pollard’s ninth record his most adventurous, and yet most satisfying.

Under The Bushes Under The Stars has impulse reactions, and that is simultaneously how it remains passionate. As quickly as “The Official Ironmen Rally Song” has monotonously opened, suddenly Pollard’s voice is pouring with uplifting emotion. In the space of seconds on “Acorns & Orioles”, layers of atmosphere emerge from nowhere and Pollard drones I can’t tell you anything/You don’t already know in such an outlandishly human tone that it resembles no other track of his, let alone Under The Bushes Under The Stars. “No Sky”, again, is one of the most unexpectedly beautiful tracks to my mind; bemusing in its Indie guitar-rock characteristics in a suddenly inconsolable cry of When I’m alone/I can see no sky. It changes again, back to the acoustic “Bright Paper Werewolves” which sounds nothing alike, and yet is scarcely different in its obvious hopelessness.

Even when with overly-enthusiastic cries of You can do the pollute! bid farewell to the listener on “Take To The Sky”, Under The Bushes Under The Stars is only completed as a technicality. Somehow, it is better off this way – twenty four half constructed songs that Robert Pollard and his happy family only cared to share a sample of. The rest, happily enough, is for your imagination to finish off in the ways they never really needed to. Under The Bushes Under The Stars is Guided By Voice’s defining moment, cast as the go-between with the intimate lo-fi albums that predated it, and the questionable formalities that took after it. It has a wilderness of its own that becomes more emotionally resonating than any other Indie classic. They finally left/in obscurity and misery is certainly no lie.



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user ratings (74)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
HallowedBeThyName
October 6th 2008


50 Comments


Good album although i prefer Gallery of Suicide by Cannibal Corpse

robin
Emeritus
October 6th 2008


4248 Comments


oh.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
October 6th 2008


17213 Comments


I like this, but heavent heard it enough times to rate it. Good review.

Digging: Inigo Kennedy - Vaudeville

robin
Emeritus
October 6th 2008


4248 Comments


listen again. This Message Edited On 10.06.08

foreverendeared
November 11th 2008


14678 Comments


hey awesome review. i got Bee Thousand and i'll be getting this next :]

Shadowed Reflection
February 15th 2009


274 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review. This one really grows on you

gaslightanthem
June 6th 2009


5209 Comments


Good album although i prefer Gallery of Suicide by Cannibal Corpse


Roach
November 5th 2009


2148 Comments


123.

robin
Emeritus
November 5th 2009


4248 Comments


better album art

Roach
November 5th 2009


2148 Comments


Not to mention the delectable riffs.

kitsch
November 5th 2009


5107 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i < 3 gbv

PuddlesPuddles
November 5th 2009


4772 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^ B123

Have to give this another spin.

Well it's on my mp3 player, so...I'll highlight it again and press Play, and then turn Shuffle off because I hate listening to albums shuffled up.

robin
Emeritus
November 5th 2009


4248 Comments


is this your only gbv? crazy
but yeah i'll go listen to them now too

PuddlesPuddles
November 5th 2009


4772 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nahh, I have Isolation Drills and Bee Thousand but didn't rate them yet. I want to listen one more time before rating now that this thread got me into a GBV mood. But this is actually the most recent one I listened to

Ponton
Emeritus
August 31st 2010


5793 Comments


Don't Stop Now is hitting pretty hard lately

Romulus
August 31st 2010


8436 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The individual songs on this are so good which is cool for a GBV album. I love Acorns & Orioles

Ponton
Emeritus
August 31st 2010


5793 Comments


I agree, this and alien lanes are pretty close for me as far as consistency goes. Hope you eventually get their greatest hits album though...

Romulus
August 31st 2010


8436 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I definitely will at some point but since I'm only like halfway through their discography I feel like it'd be better to get the rest before I jump to the greatest hits

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
August 31st 2010


15035 Comments


havent listened to this

Ponton
Emeritus
August 31st 2010


5793 Comments


that surprises me alex, you really should get this pronto



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