Customer Reviews


12 Reviews
5 star:
 (7)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Significant Step Forward
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...
Published on June 25, 2012 by someone else

versus
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'. This track is up there, together with the all time classic gems Robert Pollard has composed previously!

It almost seems these gems have been randomly distributed over an overwhelming output of GbV 12"s, 7"s, singles, Pollard solo albums and...
Published 18 months ago by J. F. De Jong


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Significant Step Forward, June 25, 2012
By 
someone else (cleveland, ohio, usa) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Class Clown Spots a UFO (Audio CD)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Return to Form, June 14, 2012
This review is from: Class Clown Spots a UFO (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. It's refreshing to see a band in this day and age of digital singles committed to making an album that forces the hand of the listener to be committed to hearing the entire album in order to begin to start appreciating the art itself.

So, with this in mind how does one go about listening to an album such as Class Clown Spots a UFO and make an educated guess as to how it stacks up with the rest of the catalog. After all, this is a review...comparisons are needed. For me, it took repeated listenings (somewhere between 20-30) before I began not only to expect but eagerly anticipate each and every track/turn on the album... This has not happened since their brilliant Pipe Dreams of Instant Pip Whippet EP in 2002 and is subsequently a stronger album than Let's Go Eat the Factory. One of the characteristics of "Classic Era" GBV albums are the inclusion of incredibly short songs/fragments strategically placed within the whole. This type of song might seem jolting when listen to as singles or in the context of initially hearing the album, however they begin to develop a necessity the more that one becomes familiar with the album. One is forced to recall how we first felt about hearing songs such as Cigarette Tricks or Hit from Alien Lanes...Did I like them initially as songs/singles? no; Would I miss them now if they weren't on the album?...hell yes.

GBV released three singles to announce Class Clown Spots a UFO and their respective B-sides... White World, Breathing and Message from the Moon are some of the catchiest/instantaneously gratifying from the sessions that produced the larger album. For me, their omission from the LP is the only let down of Class Clown Spots a UFO. Breathing in particular is a classic. In hindsight I can see where there is a lot of redundancy in the "I'm breathing..." -vs- "I'll breathe" chorus from Forever Until it Breaks. While Breathing is the much stronger song of the two, there are a slew of great songs in the GBV canon that have never seen a release on a formal GBV LP...Pantherz, Scissors, Postal Blowfish, Key Losers, James Riot, Flesh Ears for June, Super Whore etc.

Of the tracks included on Class Clown Spots A UFO...Blue Babbleships Bay, the title track, Chain to the Moon, Hang Up & Try Again, Tyson's High School, Fighter Pilot, Fly Baby, All of this Will Go, The Opposite Continues and Lost in Spaces are my current favorites. Bob and Tobe have constructed engaging lyrics throughout the LP and while the proficiency of the musicianship of the band is no where near as articulate as it was in GBV when Doug Gilliard was on board, there does seem to be at least a concerted effort (although not always successful) to keep songs in time and in tune. Like the GBV albums of the early to mid nineties, listening to this album is a bit like finding a treasure in an old attic...you have to dig through some junk to find the gems only to realize later that what you really enjoy isn't necessarily the object, but the search itself.

In conclusion, Class Clown Spots a UFO can be a really rewarding album for those willing to invest in repeatedly listening to the album as a whole. If you've had the interest and/or tolerance to read this lengthy review of mine than you might just have what it takes. Although subject to change in November upon the Bears for Lunch release or at some other point, for me this album currently stacks in the top 10 formal GBV releases (LPs and Eps) as follows:

1) Bee Thousand
2) Propeller
3) Alien Lanes
4) Same Place the Fly Got Smashed
5) Class Clown Spots a UFO
6) Under the Bushes Under the Stars
7) Vampire of Titus
8) Sunfish Holy Breakfast
9) Pipe Dreams of Instant Pip Whippet
10) Self Inflicted Aerial Nostalgia
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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
This review is from: Class Clown Spots a UFO (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Class Clown Spots a UFO (Audio CD)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Year of Gee Bee Vay!, July 8, 2012
This review is from: Class Clown Spots a UFO (Audio CD)
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 Guided by Voices. Most days I still don't believe it, but today - headphones plugged, pen in hand and time to kill - I'm feeling it, and here it is: Robert Pollard is the Great Songwriter of His Time. Especially when he's writing and recording for Guided by Voices records. It's not that all of his songs are perfect, like, say, Leonard Cohen's pretty much always are. But the man writes, records and releases more material than anyone this side of R. Stevie Moore. And sometimes, here and there, the songs are just so good.

Already a few full-length into his 2012, Pollard is on a run. His first GBV release of this year, January's reunion record, Let's Go Eat the Factory, is still my favorite release of the year. And now, only five months later, we have a second proper GBV disc, the hilariously titled Class Clown Spots a UFO.

While Factory's lo-fi, anything goes recordings reminded quite a bit of early- to mid-90s Guided by Voices releases like Alien Lanes, UFO is a tighter, more accessible batch - reminding a bit of the four GBV albums the band released before they originally called it quits. There are instant pop classics like "Keep It In Motion," "Tobin Sprout's beautiful "They and Them" and, of course, the wonderfully re-recorded version of the classic title track. But, like Factory or any of the great GBV albums, UFO is a record - made again by the classic GBV line-up - that demands to be played front to back, as a somewhat messy collage of indie rock sub-styles - with most tracks clocking in somewhere near the 90-second mark. Ballads, hard rock, power pop, classic rock, college rock, jangle rock - you name it. Same as it ever was, and all done with Pollard and Sprout's usual scrap and flare.

Okay, so UFO is another good Pollard-related release. His third good - or even great - disc of 2012 so far. But Greatest Songwriter of His Time? Maybe Greatest Song-Maker of His Time? Better. Or maybe Coolest Song-Maker seems most appropriate, as there are most definitely better lyricists and composers kicking around. So here's the thing: with each of Bob's releases, you can count on getting at least one new classic track. Classsssssic track. Maybe more than one, but always the one Million Listen Moment. And, for listeners/fans like myself, who have heard hundreds of new albums per year for almost two consecutive decades now, getting that one true classic track feels very rare. (It's all been done, we heard it all, I smell fish, etc.)

Pollard has made it clear that he takes his GBV releases more seriously than he does any of the albums he puts out under his many, many other monikers. Knowing this, and still buzzing off the blissful Factory, I could not hardly wait to get my hands on the UFO. The broken classics. Each word sung as if it's part of the greatest hook anyone ever wrote. The diversity. The one-liners. The incredible song titles and always-interesting collage artwork by Bob himself. It's all here, in top form, spread out over 21 unrelenting tracks of scrappy pop. A record recorded at a sound quality similar to the great Earthquake Glue, but featuring shorter, weirder, more lively tracks. Another big, awesomely messy dish of lazy power-pop and Weird America spirit, courtesy of the Coolest Living Song-Maker, or something.

Read more of my music- and film-related writing at ZeCatalist.com.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Continuation of the Reunion, June 13, 2012
This review is from: Class Clown Spots a UFO (Audio CD)
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 it was great, lots of it wasn't). The reunion of Guided by Voices has resulted in one album already for 2012: Let's Go Eat The Factory. The second album for 2012, CLASS CLOWN SPOTS A UFO, was recorded in the same studio session as the previous album; if listeners were put off by LET'S GO EAT THE FACTORY, chances are they won't care for this album.

If you've listened to Guided by Voices before, you'll know what to expect from CLASS CLOWN SPOTS A UFO. It's a return to form of sorts. For the those unfamiliar with the band, CLASS CLOWN SPOTS A UFO is a scattershot of a record. It's almost as much a collection of musical ideas than anything else -- songs vary greatly in tempo, timbre, genre, length, and quality. There are midtempo pop-rock songs ("Keep it in Motion,"), fast raucous jams ("Roll of the Dice, Kick in the Head," "Billy Wire,"), and eastern-influenced rock ("Worm w/ 7 Broken Hearts," "Forever Until it Breaks.") The band has a range like no other, all under the banner of lo-fi do-it-yourself alternative rock.

CLASS CLOWN SPOTS A UFO feels like a more consistent release than 2012's LET'S GO EAT THE FACTORY. I'd recommend this to long-time fans Guided by Voices (or Robert Pollard's work in general) -- this batch of songs won't disappoint. For newcomers, fans of the Pixies, the Shins, or Neutral Milk Hotel will find material here to enjoy, but I'd recommend starting with a classic GBV album like Bee Thousand. Standout tracks to sample: "Blue Babbleships Bay," "Keep it in Motion," "Billy Wire," and "Forever Until it Breaks."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Keep diggin' for those gems!, February 19, 2013
By 
J. F. De Jong (Utrecht, The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Class Clown Spots a UFO (Audio CD)
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'. This track is up there, together with the all time classic gems Robert Pollard has composed previously!

It almost seems these gems have been randomly distributed over an overwhelming output of GbV 12"s, 7"s, singles, Pollard solo albums and side projects. In 2007 I gave up on digging for these gems, running the risk of missing out on classic songs like 'Finks' (Japan-only bonus track of "Under the Bushes, Under the Stars"!) and 'Aim Correctly/Orange Jacket' (7" split w/Cobra Verde). I gave up 'cause Pollard his collection turned intimidating, with his urge for compiling albums unrestrained by a label slowing down his output, and more and more featured hardcore fan albums too experimental and unmelodic (Circus Devils).

..but any fan of real rock and roll music, any Robert Pollard fan, should keep on digging, 'cause it's worth it. 'Jon the Croc' and 'The Opposite Continues', classic tracks which only make this album worthwhile exploring. Too bad it's overall a bit mediocre. The frustrating part of being a Pollard fan, in my opinion. 'Worm w/ 7 Broken Hearts', for instance, is something which Pollard previously would and should have kept in a suitcase. 'Starfire' and 'Lost In Spaces' are beautiful songs by Tobin Sprout. All in all, keep on following Pollard (and Sprout ofcourse), 'cause even though the musical output is overwhelming, amongst it are some of the best and most beautiful songs ever put together!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A surprisingly strong effort, January 25, 2013
This review is from: Class Clown Spots a UFO (Audio CD)
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. To prove that they meant business, in early 2012 GBV released an okay "Let's Go Eat the Factory", and only 5 months later already came this new studio album.

"Class Clown Spots a UFO" (21 tracks; 40 min. and no, that is not a typo) starts off with 3 of its initial 4 songs each being over 3 min. long, which in Pollack/GBV speak is an epic length. But guess what, they are actually among the best tracks on here. Check out opener "He Rises! (Our Union Boy"), with strong guitar riffs. "Forever Until It Breaks" and the title track are the other 'long' tracks. From track 5 on, we get mostly songs in the 1 to 2 min. range. Sometimes, or maybe even oftentimes, that's just fine as these snippets seem to run out of steam pretty quickly and I'm ready to immediately move on as well. But on occasion, it is frustrating when there is actually a good song idea, only to see it end abruptly (check out for example "Hang Up and Try Again" and "Starfire"). But in all, this is a surprisingly strong album.

GBV hailing from Dayton, I've seen these guys in concert quite a few times in and around Cincinnati over the years. About a month after "Class Clown" came out, they played the Bunbury Music Festival here in Cincinnati, and what a rousing 60 min. set they brought (in front of a packed stage, I might add). They played about 8 or 9 "Class Clown" tracks, including the title track, Hang Over Child, Keep It In Motion, and many more. (Since then, GBV has issued yet another new studio album in December '12, "Bears for Lunch", which I haven't gotten around to yet.) Meanwhile, "Class Clown Spots a UFO" is a very nice addition to the GBV catalog.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Great album, Great Seller, August 8, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Class Clown Spots a UFO (Vinyl)
You have to get this album if you are any type of GBV fan, classic sounds harking back to the early 90's.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent album!, August 6, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Class Clown Spots a UFO (Audio CD)
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! Definitely checking out more music by Guided by Voices.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Class Clown Spots a UFO
Class Clown Spots a UFO by Guided by Voices (Audio CD - 2012)
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.