Guided By Voices: Tremblers and Goggles By Rank review – a fine addition to an illustrious indie legacy


It’s fair to assume that Robert Pollard has never suffered from writer’s block: this is the 14th album since he rebooted Guided By Voices for the second time in 2016. Remarkably, the quality control in that time has barely wavered, each record striking a subtly different balance between fragmentary powerpop takes on Pink Flag-era Wire and more musically dense prog stylings.

Tremblers… falls very much into the latter camp, with a tendency for longer, more discursive songs (closer Who Wants to Go Hunting clocks in at an unprecedented six minutes), their unpredictable twists and turns interspersed with lyrical non sequiturs (“I wear my shirt out/ I want you to see my clown”) and a wealth of gorgeous hooks. Cartoon Fashion (Bongo Lake) is particularly fine, as is the early Who-inspired Goggles By Rank. Roosevelt’s Marching Band, however, plods unspectacularly and while Alex Bell doesn’t want for ideas (or false endings), not all of them are actually good. As an album, it never comes close to Guided By Voices at their mid-90s peak; it isn’t even the best one by this incarnation of the band (that’s possibly 2019’s Warp and Woof). But this is yet another solid addition to one of the most impressive canons in US indie rock.

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