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Album review: Guided By Voices’ ‘Motivational Jumpsuit’

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Four stars

Guided By Voices Motivational Jumpsuit

In technical terms, Motivational Jumpsuit ends another era for indie titans Guided By Voices. But while the final album to feature Kevin Fennell on drums caps the five-man “classic-lineup” reunion that began in 2010, don’t expect GBV fans to fear the future. What started as a nostalgic rejoining has become anything but, with leader Robert Pollard and his mates piling up quality new tunes at a pace unmatched even by the prolific original incarnation.

Jumpsuit, reunion album No. 5, ranks with 2012’s The Bears for Lunch as the most wholly satisfying, though the gap between first and last is far from cavernous. The new LP feels notably forceful, with Pollard contributing a batch of crunchy rockers: “The Littlest League Possible,” “Writers’ Bloc (Psycho All the Time),” “Planet Score,” “I Am Columbus” and “Alex and the Omegas” among them. The best of the bunch might be “Vote for Me Dummy,” a play-it-again ringer that could sit comfortably alongside all-timers like “Motor Away” and “Closer You Are.”

As with most great GBV records, it’s the stuff Pollard piles around his hooks that elevates everything—stately mini-ballads like “Until Next Time” and “Evangeline Dandelion,” hissy fist-pumper “Save the Company” and chilling interlude “Bird With No Name.” Second songwriter Tobin Sprout makes some magic happen, too, contributing what might be his best reunion-era track, “Shine (Tomahawk Breath),” along with others of high quality.

With a new drummer on board (early-2000s member Kevin March) and a new full-length on the way (May’s Cool Planet), the only uncertainty left for fans is the band’s upcoming show schedule.

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Spencer Patterson

Spencer Patterson is the Editor of Las Vegas Weekly, having previously served as Managing Editor, Arts & Entertainment Editor and ...

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