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Albums Of The Week: Guided By Voices | It’s Not Them. It Couldn’t Be Them. It Is Them!

Flamenco guitars? Strings and horns? Spooky keyboards? True to the title, it can be hard to recognize Uncle Bob & his drinking buddies on their 43 studio album.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “It’s been just a few months since Guided By Voices’ faux rock opera Earth Man Blues garnered four-star and five-star reviews, with one outlet proclaiming that it “squarely hits all the marks that make Guided By Voices great — again and again and again.”

“Again and again and again” is perhaps GBV’s credo, thanks to Robert Pollard’s never-ending supply of fascinating and supremely catchy rock. But just when one thinks one’s got them pinned down, album number 34 opens with bizarre percussion, mariachi trumpets, strings and acoustic guitar. The adventurous spirit pervades yet another killer album from the greatest and most versatile GBV line-up. The golden boys (Doug Gillard, Bobby Bare Jr., Mark Shue, Kevin March) can do no wrong.

Hooky singles My (Limited) Engagement, High In The Rain and Dance of Gurus intermingle with occasionally dark lyrics and the oddest of GBV oddballs, the ridiculous Razor Bug, Psycho House and Maintenance Man Of The Haunted House. The horns and strings return intermittently, with The Bells Get Out Of The Way going full Burt Bacharach. It’s Not Them. It Couldn’t Be Them. It Is Them! is a creative tour-de-force full of surprises from the most prolific and captivating band on the planet.”