Guided By Voices - The Bears For Lunch
Record Label: Guided By Voices Inc
Release Date: November 13, 2012
Guided By Voices are terrifyingly productive. In case it’s slipped under your radar, this is not the Ohio indie-rock gang’s first release of this year, it’s not their second, no, it’s their third. Oh yeah, and all three of the releases have had more than eighteen tracks on each. It appears the band’s couple year break-up has left them with a musical appetite to burn up and The Bears For Lunch continues on from where its predecessors left off with even more slightly off the wall but always enjoyable indie-rock.
The Bears For Lunch is jam-packed with different vibes and an extremely varied approach to the genre. Starter “King Arthur The Red” is a garage rock thrash with a sixties vibe. With it’s ridiculously catchy melody and chilled out air, it’s a perfect opener to a such a large pile of tracks. The difference between the opener and it’s successor “The Corners Are Glowing” are pretty much a representation of how eclectic the record is overall. “The Corners Are Glowing” sounds like it would be at home amongst the trippier side The Beatles’ catalogue and it’s so laid back it’s almost horizontal. It seems like the eclecticism is what makes this record what it is. Most of the time it comes across less as an album and more of a compilation of tracks. Whether or not this is a good thing remains to be seen. The Bears For Lunch isn’t the sort of record that demands a full listen through, it’s very easy to just dip in a pick out a track to listen to it without losing anything from the overall product. Basically, if you listen to The Bears For Lunch on shuffle it’s not really going to make a difference.
That’s not to say this is representative of the quality of music, though. The record holds some excellent tracks. “Hangover Child” is great. With it’s Bowie-ish vocals and timeless feel, the song is a highlight. “White Flag” is also superb. It melds together the usual chords and melodies we’ve heard a hundred times before, but teams them with their own interesting take on it. This is a skill of Guided By Voices and it’s something that sets them apart from their peers. They take sounds and genres that have been done millions of times before and put their own twist to it so it comes across incredibly fresh and like this is the decade that the sound has been invented. It doesn’t feel like you’re listening to sixties revivalists, it feels like you’re listening to the inventors.
As I’ve already mentioned, Guided By Voices have put an incredible amount of music this year and at some point, something has to give. At points of The Bears For Lunch things start to give way. It feels that the nineteen tracks of the record is a bit gratuitous and there’s a lot of fat on here that should have been trimmed. When there’s quite a few non-essential tracks on the record it means the excellent tracks drown in the record and don’t get the focus that they deserve.
Overall, The Bears For Lunch is an great record, however those extra unnecessary tracks weigh it down at points and prevent it from being excellent. If you want an easy listening experience that’s still filled with eclecticism Guided By Voices are your people.