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Guided by Voices | Sweating the Plague

Uncle Bob offers his third disc of the year — & his most commercial in many a year.

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WHO ARE THEY? Uncle Bob Pollard — aka The Most Prolific Dude in Indie-Rock — and his latest basement band of drinking buddies.

WHAT IS THIS? GBV’s 29th studio album in just 32 years and their third disc of 2019 — which is now officially their most productive year since 2012, when they returned to the studio with a vengeance after splitting for a few years. What’s got a bee in their bonnet this time is anybody’s guess.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Remarkably compact, cogent and song-oriented, the is the sound of Pollard on his game. Unlike the bazillion-track marathons full of home-recorded 90-second lo-fi experiments he sometimes cranks out, this 37-minute set contains just a dozen tracks of crunchy ’60s and ’70s-inspired indie-rock, making it one of the band’s most approachable and commercial albums in years — though Bob’s non-sequitur, stream-of-consciousness lyrics are every bit as inscrutable as ever.

WHAT SHOULD IT BE TITLED? Voices of Reason. Or perhaps Sometimes Less Really Is More.

HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? While drinking copious amounts of cheap beer in your rec room with all your buddies.

WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Energized, enthusiastic, solid, strong, consistent, pointed, punchy, potent, poised, produced.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? Rocking nuggets like Street Party, Ego Central High, The Very Second, Tiger on Top, Unfun Glitz and Immortals.

WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS SAY? ‘Given the upward trajectory of this year’s releases, it’s too bad he doesn’t have to make a fourth album — or does he?’

HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? Plenty — it definitely puts the heavy in heavy rotation.

IF THIS ALBUM WERE A CLICHE MOVIE PLOT, WHAT WOULD IT BE? The story of an undisciplined sports team who play by their own rules — but straighten up and fly right when it counts, just to prove to everyone they can.

SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? Hey, somebody has to cover the band’s bar tab.