• Hank Melluish

Guided by Voices Earth Man Blues Review


Oh, sweet Jesus… where to begin…


There’s this meme floating around, right? Very big, very new meme, and this meme is a picture of Sean Bean from Lord of the Rings, right? From that scene where he says “One does not simply walk into Mordor,” and the reason I bring this up is because one doesn’t simply go to college and not be a Guided by Voices fan. It just doesn’t happen. Make that meme happen folks, and check out Rage Comics when you’re done.


Now, while Guided By Voices aren’t really a household name anymore, they’re still at it, releasing three albums in 2020 alone and another on April 30th of this year by the name of Earth Man Blues. And while I’ve not heard everything by Guided By Voices, I checked this one out because I’d not heard their new stuff in a good long while.


Reviewing a GBV album is a difficult task. Frankly, I don’t know why I’m doing it. Every one of their albums is so all-over-the-place, clashing styles and instruments, but sometimes the formula works. The drive--or rather the magic--of frontman Robert Pollard is his voluminous output. He couldn’t stop making music if he wanted to, and the effect of this massive quantity of music shines through every once in a while. Nobody likes every song the man has written, and you really aren’t meant to. There’s a song out there, and it’s different for every fan, that is going to knock your socks off. For me, that song was “I Am A Tree,” released back in 1997 on the album Mag Earwhig! It’s a blast of power-pop that felt as though it was made for me and me alone, and I’m consistently shocked when people don’t love it half as much as I did the first time I heard it. And it’s upon hearing that song--“that