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Class Clown Spots a UFO

Guided by VoicesAudio CD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Biography

Here is the last Guided By Voices album. Not in the sense of “Here is the previous Guided By Voices album,” but in the sense of “final.” If it’s true in movies where the voice-over says “You never really appreciate something until it’s gone,” and the credits roll, and you leave the theater with little bits of popcorn stuck to your shoes, then you ... Read more in Amazon's Guided by Voices Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 12, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Guided By Voices
  • ASIN: B007XUMGSO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,435 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

The new Guided by Voices album is the best thing the band has recorded since the last album by the legendary Dayton, Ohio, rockers. That s not meant facetiously: the last thing Guided by Voices did was the rapturously received Let s Go Eat the Factory, and Class Clown Spots a UFO ups the ante raised by that stellar effort, both in terms of recording fidelity (boring!) and songcraft (not boring!) One could argue there s more depth and variety here than on Alien Lanes, that there are better songs here than on Bee Thousand, but that s an argument no one s ever going to win, at least definitively. And this album is a win, by any definition. Class Clown is classic GBV, starting with the head-body-head combination of He Rises (Our Union Bellboy), Blue Babbleship Bay, and Forever Until It Breaks before finishing you off with the title track, a ridiculously catchy, melodically complex, shot-through-with-melancholia song that serves as a sadder and wiser riposte to XTC s Making Plans for Nigel as performed by The Hollies. And that s just the first four songs of a 21-track album clocking in at just under 40 minutes. We ve yet to get to Keep It in Motion, a propulsive, drum-machine-driven pop song which features acoustic guitars, strings, and Robert Pollard and Tobin Sprout singing together in a way not heard since 14 Cheerleader Coldfront on 1992 s Propeller. Possibly. Nor have we discussed galvanic rocker Jon the Croc, a clear single candidate, or Chain to the Moon, one of the saddest and (why not?) prettiest songs Pollard has ever written. In between, you get wah-wah guitar solos, a wide range of unusual recording techniques of varying fidelity and a generous helping of Alien Lanes-style snippets. In fact, the sequencing of Class Clown hearkens back to that landmark LP as on Alien Lanes, songs bleed into each other, fade-outs segue into fade-ins, short bursts of melodic rock ( Billy Wire, Roll of the Dice, Kick in the Head ) jut against somber chamber pop ( They and Them, Starfire ). The last song, the anthemic No Transmission, if played at the proper volume, will in fact blow your mind (and your windows). Class Clown Spots a UFO arrives in June, and we might as well tell you the band is about to finish their third record since reuniting, because you ll find out sooner or later. Bears for Lunch is due in late November. But for now, enjoy the best thing since the last thing and until the next thing after that.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Significant Step Forward June 25, 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Wow. Yes. Definitely.

I confess, I was a skeptic. Let's Go Eat the Factory never really impressed me, and I was worried that Class Clown would simply follow suit. Not the case at all. This one truly feels like a proper GBV release, and dare I say, it wouldn't be out of place in their 90's era works. I'm not yet sure I'd lump it with the golden three (Bee Thousand, Alien Lanes, or Under the Bushes), but I'd easily lump it with Vampire and/or Propeller, and that's no small statement. This is the first GBV album in a long time that I found myself truly excited about during listening; it builds momentum and makes one eager to see where it goes next.

With Factory, Sprout's offerings carried and ultimately saved the album. Outside of three or four tracks, Pollard didn't have much of value to give. With Class Clown, Pollard is definitely back, and Sprout has a stunning six songs on the album, all of which are again very solid. There isn't a track on the whole thing that bogs the album down and that you'd like to skip but know you shouldn't. Admittedly, Class Clown might eventually deserve an extra star with more listens, but it's an easy four right now.

The title track is astounding. Again, to contrast to their previous effort, my biggest complaint about Factory was that it lacked a true single. This album is more like an Alien Lanes in that it has a few true singles, a number of very solid songs to bookend them, and excellent sequencing to make it feel balanced as an album, something that Factory also lacked. This album is such a clear step forward that I'm now honestly looking forward to the next album, not because I'm at all dissatisfied with the offering I have in my hands now, but because this album is proof that the boys still have it, even if I wasn't initially a believer. Call me a convert.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Return to Form June 14, 2012
Format:Audio CD
It has been reported inaccurately in a number of reviews I've recently read about this latest offering from Guided By Voices that theses tracks were recorded at the same sessions as it's predecessor, Let's Go Eat the Factory. One might assume that a band set with the challenge of releasing three albums in a single year would take the approach of having a single set of sessions and then dividing the spoils between the three releases. Photographs, recording dates and interviews have been posted via Rockathon Records and Robert Pollard's Facebook page since last autumn fleshing out the details of the individual sessions. I think it's important to set the record straight here because Class Clown Spots a UFO is an album constructed by musicians in response to their previous efforts and in reflection of where they are at the precise moment of recording.

Given that the three 2012 releases (Bears for Lunch is scheduled to arrive in November) stem from what many rightfully consider the "Classic" lineup of Guided By Voices, one is compelled to make comparisons with benchmarks from the 90's, such as Propeller, Vampire of Titus, Bee Thousand, Alien Lanes, Under the Bushes... It is important to remember that these albums carry with them nostalgia and benefit from the perspective that time can only give.

Class Clown Spots A UFO was made to be listened to as an album, not as a collection of singles. It is an audible collage from a band (not one individual) that consists of brief, ambiguous, clear, distorted, fragile and pure rock Valhalla moments. Its track sequence, like all memorable Guided By Voices albums, is vital to the composition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "Must-Have" for True GBV fans July 21, 2012
Format:Audio CD
Let me start by stating that I first got into GBV through "Vampire on Titus/Propeller" soon after after I saw a glowing review of it in Alternative Press. Many GBV think that the band really started to shine with the release of "Bee Thousand", but I think that is totally wrong. "Vampire on Titus" and "Propeller" were the true starting points for the genius which is GBV.

That brings us to this album. This ranks up there with anything that GBV released during their "classic line-up" period. There are many , many songs here that I would welcome to hear at a concert. There is no weak filler here. I could listen to this album repeatedly and enjoy it, just like "Vampire on Titus/Propeller".

Enjoy the renuion as long as it lasts. May the next album be as good as this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GBV is back where it belongs and has a future July 12, 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
If you are familiar with Guided By Voices and Robert Pollard, you know what to expect even if you have given up trying to keep up with all the many many records. The "classic" GBV lineup does seem to be the best vehicle for Pollard after all and for whatever intangable reasons this new album hits the sweet spots. Class Clown finds the right balance in production, and is one of the most listenable albums in Bob Pollard's career, with an excellent flow and sequencing from start to finish.

I'm sure with with Let's Go Eat the Factory many wondered if this was just a novelty. With Class Clown Spots a UFO, GBV has come full circle, thou probably wiser for the journey. Makes me look forward to the next record, and hopefully the one after that.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Keep diggin' for those gems!
For those of you who are not yet convinced whether to take this album for a spin or not, I've got two words: 'Billy Wire'. Read more
Published 19 months ago by J. F. De Jong
4.0 out of 5 stars A surprisingly strong effort
I think I am not the only one who was delighted that Robert Pollack re-assembled the Guided by Voices brand and band in 2011 after a 7 year hiatus. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Paul Allaer
1.0 out of 5 stars More than ever, Robert Pollard proves he's in dire need of an editor..
What a disappointing mess. About a decade after witnessing a train wreck of a GBV show in Albuquerque (in which a typically plastered Pollard tossed beers into the crowd and... Read more
Published on September 6, 2012 by Greg Surratt
5.0 out of 5 stars Great album, Great Seller
You have to get this album if you are any type of GBV fan, classic sounds harking back to the early 90's.
Published on August 8, 2012 by Screaming
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent album!
Wonderful addition to my musical collection. First heard them on the local college radio, and decided I would love the whole album--which I did! Read more
Published on August 6, 2012 by Savvy218
5.0 out of 5 stars The Year of Gee Bee Vay!
It took a decade-plus of wading through various levels of denial to come to such a grand conclusion as the one I've finally arrived upon today pertaining to Robert Pollard and his... Read more
Published on July 8, 2012 by Gregory William Locke
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Record
Class Clown Spots A UFO is an excellent record. Better than Let's Go Eat The Factory, which was pretty good. Read more
Published on June 13, 2012 by John from Seattle
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Continuation of the Reunion
It's really hard to predict how a Robert Pollard release will be. After the dissolution of Guided by Voices, Pollard went on to release a massive amount of solo material (lots of... Read more
Published on June 13, 2012 by T. A. Daniel
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