Guided by Voices
How Do You Spell Heaven


4.0
excellent

Review

by butcherboy CONTRIBUTOR (75 Reviews)
August 11th, 2017 | 54 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I've come over here again just to know you..

It seems nowadays like every other new Guided by Voices release arrives with a whole pack of ‘re-‘ adjectives sewn in – rejuvenated, renewed, reinvigorated, revived, reborn. Given that the average age of established indie music critics mirrors that of Robert Pollard, it’s an understandable tack. The bulk of them grew up on his music, wore the T-shirts, bopped at the shows, wore the records down to a flush plate. We all love a comeback and we love it even more when they happen to affable anti-heroes like Pollard. Except this time around, it isn’t half-latria and half-wishful thinking.

How Do You Spell Heaven rocks, roils and springs; keen, brawny and alert, Pollard’s voice like an ageless spitfire crashing through the meaty arrangements. The absence of his main abettor and oldest collaborator Tobin Sprout doesn’t loom nearly as large over Heaven as it has on past GBV albums. Most everything here falls into place in grand fashion. The backing band Pollard had assembled for August by Cake earlier this year are back, and they’ve obviously had time to gestate and acquaint. Looser and tighter in all the ways it counts, the songs on Heaven run through you like impish shafts of light, sodden in cold beer and summer sweat.

Pollard walks out all his old ascendancy ghosts. “Cretinous Number Ones” and “Pearly Gate Smoke Machine” sport both those mystically obtuse titles and that thickset, storming The Who-esque riffing. “Diver Dan” flings you back to the 90’s with such genial aplomb, you’ll feel dizzy with Benetton ads and Roos sneakers that had that side pocket you could keep your stash in. “Low Flying Perfection” is a frothy mid-tempo marvel. And closer “Just to Show You” is as boisterous as it is elegantly plaintive, down to the poppy woo’s that round up Pollard’s mantra. Spilling over with that patented ragged charm, it’s the best and most effortless song he has put to record in years and years.

Best of all, none of it seems as stiff-jointed or compulsory as their past rebounds. If you had to rifle through The Bears for Lunch and Cool Planet to get to the songs that would deck out your GBV B-list, the best here easily stacks up with the finest moments of their run through the second half of the 90’s. Most importantly, Heaven plays as a brashly assured record in its whole. Subsequently, the true highlights of Heaven become strongpoints outside the context of Guided by Voices, their crazed output rates or wobbly praxes in the cutting room. These are great songs. They make a great album.

The better parts of GBV’s catalogue always came with a built-in ‘fly in the ointment’ clause - you had to cut and sift through a third of clutter to get the payoff, the songs that filled your chest and made you feel boundless and lost. Against all odds, mostly imposed by his own self, Pollard seems to have done it again.



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user ratings (14)
Chart.
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
August 11th 2017


4542 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I am honestly over the fucking moon with how much I love this album.. after The Fall jilted me, it's nice to know some old dogs still have fire left in them..

Digging: Circle X - Prehistory

Alastor
August 11th 2017


1734 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I need to catch up on their discog, I blinked and they released two albums at the same time.

UniqueUniverse
August 11th 2017


5729 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

So they did good this time?

LandDiving
Contributing Reviewer
August 11th 2017


1612 Comments


i need to get on GBV it seems and this wonderful review may well have just pushed me over the edge. your descriptions of the music here are so vivid (case in point: "How Do You Spell Heaven rocks, roils and springs; keen, brawny and alert, Pollard’s voice like an ageless spitfire crashing through the meaty arrangements.")

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
August 11th 2017


4542 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Alastor, every two months lost is another album you're missing..



Unique, yea they did, I'm loving this one..



Jack, cheers pal.. you need to get on them, the best songs by these guys cannot be rivaled..

AsleepInTheBack
August 11th 2017


4748 Comments


Stunner of a review. Should probably check this. Too much music, ahhh

sincerelyaural
August 11th 2017


401 Comments


Descriptions on point as always, shame I could never get into this band

Chortles
August 11th 2017


20601 Comments


Just brilliant my man. I think if not for this I probably would have assumed it was a semi-flop at best but I'm really stoked to give it a shot now

&jack my god this band is perfect for you pls listen

Digging: DJ Sprinkles - Midtown 120 Blues

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
August 11th 2017


18420 Comments


love how you just shoot off descriptions like they are nothing, very natural and cool review butcher. I need to get into this band like asap

tom79
August 11th 2017


3579 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I dig GBV but have yet to listen to an album of theirs post-1997, I think I might change that and give this one a spin. Nice review.

Digging: Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Mirror Traffic

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
August 11th 2017


4542 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks very much, everyone!



Chorts, i completely forgot that we're arch nemeses.!

Hanusko
August 11th 2017


73 Comments


Never was really into these guys, but might give it a try..tho I haven't heard anything post ''Isolation drills'', am I missing something ?

Great review Butcher.

Pheromone
August 11th 2017


5254 Comments


Now I actually want to listen to this. Nice one dude

Digging: Thingy - Songs About Angels Evil And Running Around On Fire

jtswope
August 11th 2017


5553 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I really want this to be great. Gonna jam soon.

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
August 11th 2017


4542 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cheers, guys.. this one is well worth it..

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
August 11th 2017


14828 Comments


i love gillard&march gbv so much fuck
excited to jam

Hellscythe
August 12th 2017


2051 Comments


H-E-A-V-E-N you illiterate fucks

Digging: Chelsea Wolfe - Hiss Spun

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
August 12th 2017


14828 Comments


@Hanusko earthquake glue my friend

zakalwe
August 12th 2017


22757 Comments


This review is quality. Band is best ever.

Digging: Randomer - Smokin

danielcardoso
Contributing Reviewer
August 12th 2017


11524 Comments


Clicked expecting a Butch review, was not disappointed :D



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