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Guided By Voices | Surrender Your Poppy Field

The 30th time's the charm for Robert Pollard and his hard-working GBV bandmates.

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There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who say, ‘Fuck, another Guided by Voices album?’ and those who say ‘Fuck yeah, another Guided By Voices album!’ If you’re in the latter group — and I most assuredly am — you don’t need me to tell you to buy Surrender Your Poppy Field, the 30th studio release from prolific indie-rock professor Robert Pollard and his latest lineup. You’re already listening to it with the volume cranked and a beer cracked. On the other hand, if you’re somebody who hasn’t been keeping up with Uncle Bob and his brew crew lately, allow me to do you a solid by way of letting you know that now’s the time to get back on the bus. And here’s why: The 15-song Poppy Field is one of the venerable Ohio rockers’ more outsized, invigorated and consistently satisfying recent outings. Selling Point 1: It’s got all the usual Pollard sonic and stylistic touchstones: The lo-fi basement recordings, the jangly retro-pop nuggets, the crushingly bombastic indie-rockers, the lo-fi garage-band firecrackers, the psychedelically proggy mini-epics. Selling Point 2: They’re crammed end-to-end with only the barest gaps between the tracks, giving the 39-minute album a sense of propulsion and momentum that sweeps you up in its wake. Selling Point 3: The performances are also more urgent and tightly wound, delivered with a potency and commitment that suggest Pollard and co. feel like they have something to prove. They don’t, of course. But it’s a treat to know that after more than 100 albums — and no, that’s not a joke — Pollard hasn’t surrendered to the forces of entropy or ennui. Or, to put it another way: Fuck, yeah.