Guided By Voices "Under the Bushes Under the Sky" 2xLP
Pestered by complaints that they were wasting perfect hooks by not bothering to finish them, lo-fi pop avatars Guided By Voices set out to prove they could make a proper pop album if they really wanted to. Then they ditched it like just another melody line in Robert Pollard's overly fertile head. On the way to releasing this, their ninth album, the band tossed out most of a set of songs recorded with uber-producer Steve Albini and with Kim Deal of the Breeders, and replaced them with some random pop matter written and recorded on the fly after they were supposed to be done.
Lo-fi and whimsical they remain, but much of the original pop ambition for 1996's Under The Bushes Under The Stars can be heard on the final product; it's easily the band's most accessible album. Verses and choruses repeat up to three times, songs clock in over three minutes, and someone plays a piano; by GBV standards, this is perfectly baroque. But among the rush of power-pop hooks and new-wave touches, there is also an anti-pop undercurrent.
The gorgeous acoustic tone of "Acorns & Orioles," for example, is invaded by a howling noise that continues, unabated, through the next two tracks as well. What remains in the end, in the power-pop drive of "Your Name Is Wild" and the skittering guitar wallop of "Man Called Aerodynamics," is the one thing Guided By Voices couldn't ditch if they wanted to: hooks galore.