In late 2010, the stars aligned and one of the greatest bands ever to grace the face of the planet reunited to headline at Matador’s 21st birthday party. They later toured the country, playing to sold-out crowds in every major North American city; and they eventually settled down to drink a ton of Miller Lite and record comical amounts of new material (it’s been rumored that lead singer Robert Pollard writes three songs a day) . This is their second release to come out since their reunion, and they don’t any show signs of stopping. Sure they may have a few more grey hairs and lower alcohol tolerances, but their most recent recordings (this included) show all the fury and torrid vehemence of their 90’s masterpieces Alien Lanes and Bee Thousand.
RIYL: Built to Spill, Pavement, Pixies, Robert Pollard
1. Slow, epic intro. Roaring guitars, bass bombs, and bold clear vocals. The club is open. 2. Loud, rude and rough. A bit swingy and bluesy. *3. Mellow and melodic, with strong acoustic notes, prominent strings section.*4. Poppy and swingy with a horns section. Layered vocals, crisp and starched—everything you felt guilty about liking in “Teenage FBI.” 5. Short fairytale ditty 6. Fierce and punky with distorted lyrics. There’s no denying the Pixies connection. *7. An upbeat headnodder—backup vocals by TOBIN SPROUT (!) Very simple lyrics, but it’s a charmer. 8. Jagged blasts of distorted guitar. Use this to freezerburn your ears into submission when you feel sad that the White Stripes broke up, and they’re never getting together again. 9. Soft and smooth with fluffy strings and piano. Another Tobin song with a bit of a Simon and Garfunkle thing going on…10. 1-minute collage of guitar with garbled lyrics. 11. “Roll of the Dice, Kick in the Head”—just like the name would suggest—prickly and punky with snarled lyrics and explosive percussion. *12. Loud and proud—strong guitar strumming and plucky vox. A classic GVB rocker. 13. Awww man. There’s a worm with 7 broken hearts. :( Just as weird as it sounds. You’ll love it if you’re into any of the weirdass 30-second songs on Alien Lanes like “Pimple Zoo” and shit like that. *14. Rootsy Tobin Sprout ballad. Acoustic guitar and beautiful vocals. I can’t help being reminded of early Grateful Dead…*15. Loud and messy. Jumbled guitar lines, crashing percussion. Great raw stuff. 16. Robert Pollard really can sing. Acoustic ballad with surreal lyrics. 17. Midtempo 1960’s psychedelic / Britpop rocker. 18. Harsh guitar throbbing and bold vocals. Nice solos at the end. 19. Slow, wistful ballad. 20. Shimmery piano ballad with swirly effects and layered vocals. A real head high, that’s for sure. *21. Killer ending track – balls to the walls rawk.