At this point, what is there left to say about a new Guided By Voices album that hasn’t been said 100 times before?
After all, it’s not like the Dayton heroes’ insanely prolific majordomo Robert Pollard is suddenly going to change his tune and make a polka album or anything. Even if he wanted to, he’s clearly far too busy cranking out the ’60s-rock nuggets like they’re going out of style. Speaking of styles: Sometimes they’re a little rockier and crunchier, sometimes they’re a little proggier and dreamier, sometimes they’re a little poppier and sweeter, sometimes they’re a little weirder and experimental, and sometimes they don’t last as long as it took to read this sentence. Mirrored Aztec, like countless predecessors, has some from all these categories. And at least a few of Uncle Bob and his bandmates’ latest offerings — like the opener choppy I Think I Had it. I Think I Have It Again, the chugging Biker’s Nest and the freaky Show Of Hands — are good enough to make the rotation in your updated Pollard playlist. Bottom line: It’s another solid, perfectly goddamn enjoyable GBV album. That’s good enough for me. It oughta be good enough for you. Say no more.
THE PRESS RELEASE: “The GBV train shows no signs of slowing with their most welcome offering in years, so get on board! Chock full of hooks with some unprecedented moments as well… When we last heard from Guided By Voices, they had released an astonishing four albums in just over 12 months. Each has a distinctive creative identity: Zeppelin Over China was a meat-and-potatoes double album, Warp And Woof was a return to the band’s low-fidelity roots and under-two-minute earworms, Sweating The Plague was a slice of moody stadium rock, and Surrender Your Poppy Field was an unpredictable grab-bag of all of the above. After venturing through the tangled brambles of Plague and Poppy Field, here is a sunny summer reprieve, a relentless barrage of hooks — Mirrored Aztec is the latest stop on this runaway train. Like its immediate predecessors, Mirrored Aztec is both its own entity and unmistakably GBV. It’s also their most immediately welcoming and inviting offering in years — there’s nothing a fan of The Who, Big Star, or Wire, wouldn’t love. For the GBV uninitiated, the clean, confident hooks of highlights Bunco Men, Haircut Sphinx, A Whale Is Top Notch, Party Rages On and the strummy To Keep An Area will resonate immediately. It also contains some unprecedented GBV moments, too, like Math Rock, an apparent tribute to the titular subgenre featuring classroom instruments and a children’s choir, Please Don’t Be Honest, a dreamy reversal of the band’s 2016 song and album Please Be Honest, and Thank You Jane, perhaps the most open-hearted, guileless power-pop song from Pollard’s pen in ages. If Pollard’s discography — 107 albums and counting — seems intimidating, do not fear! With a brand-new, high-quality, all-the-way there album every several months, it’s abundantly clear that no band’s fanbase has more fun.”