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Album Review: Guided by Voices’ ‘August By Cake’

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Four stars

Guided by Voices August by Cake

Last year, Robert Pollard proved he required no additional voices to craft a quality Guided By Voices album, writing and playing every note of Please Be Honest himself. On follow-up August by Cake, he swings the pendulum to the opposite end, inviting his latest bandmates to contribute not only guitars and drums, but also songs; nine of the double-record’s 32 tracks were written (and in most cases sung) by people not named Pollard.

That “outside” input fits in quite coherently, and in some cases—guitarist Doug Gillard’s Wire-y “Deflect/ Project,” drummer Kevin March’s swirling “Overloaded” and bassist Mark Shue’s punkish “Sudden Fiction,” for example—brings new hues to GBV’s indie-rock rainbow. Better still, with a fully invested set of musicians behind him, Pollard’s material feels tougher and, well, band-ier than it has since 2011 Boston Spaceships behemoth Let It Beard. As he closes in on 60, Pollard’s songwriting and voice are elastic as ever, and he piles up a tower of varied new GBV favorites—the majestic “We Liken the Sun,” irresistible earworm “Dr. Feelgood Falls Off the Ocean” and heavy-bordering-on-doom chant-along “Circus Day Hold Out,” to name just three—sure to sound even more forceful when delivered onstage.

Tags: Music, Album
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Spencer Patterson

Spencer Patterson is the Editor of Las Vegas Weekly, having previously served as Managing Editor, Arts & Entertainment Editor and ...

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