Guided by Voices – Surrender Your Poppy Field (2020) [FLAC 24bit/44,1kHz]

Guided by Voices – Surrender Your Poppy Field (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 38:43 minutes | 432 MB | Genre: Alternative, Indie
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © GBV Inc

Starting off the year with a 100-song marathon in Los Angeles on New Year’s Eve, Robert Pollard is setting a mighty high bar for Guided By Voices in 2020. Following three acclaimed and stylistically distinct full-length albums in 2019, Surrender Your Poppy Field, is a headspinning tour de force: a bit of everything… plus more! And hands down the most adventurous GBV album ever. There are lo-fi four-track tape recordings, there are songs recorded with a single microphone in a basement, there are big studio fullyproduced hook-laden pop songs, and there is a lot in between. Seemingly, the guiding concept of Surrender Your Poppy Field was to make the songs sound as different from one another as possible: sudden shifts in mood, tempo and rhythm, unexpected chord progressions, false endings and codas, string orchestrations, mysterious voices… It’s an exhilarating and dizzying trip to an inventive world of strange characters: Andre the Hawk, Queen Parking Lot, the Cul-de-Sac Kids, the Hard Hitter, the Steely Dodger, the Stone Cold Moron, A Man Called Physician, A Man Called Blunder… Not content with their usual mastery of the 4 P’s (punk, pop, prog, psych) Professor Pollard pushes the envelope on Poppy Field, and continues to redefine GBV from a myriad of angles. Anyone who thinks that he’s gotten complacent after 104 albums hasn’t been paying attention! Don’t miss out.

Anyone who was shedding a tear at the Electrifying Conclusion of Guided by Voices in late 2004 would probably be taken aback if you had told them that the group would not only be back in action in the year 2020 but also in the midst of one of the most consistent hot streaks in their recording career. However, after Robert Pollard assembled a new and improved edition of GBV in 2016, the band released six albums that range from quite good (2019’s Warp and Woof) to genuinely great (2017’s How Do You Spell Heaven and 2019’s Zeppelin Over China). 2020’s Surrender Your Poppy Field puts the count up to seven, and it stands out stylistically from its immediate predecessors. Since Pollard debuted this GBV lineup — Pollard on vocals, Doug Gillard and Bobby Bare, Jr. on guitars, Mark Shue on bass, and Kevin March on drums — their songwriting and production has favored their leader’s latter-day embrace of the twists and turns of prog rock rather than the lo-fi dense-pack pop hooks of their ’90s breakthrough works. Surrender Your Poppy Field plays like an effort to find room for both sides of GBV’s personality; while most of this was clearly not cut on a four-track cassette machine like Bee Thousand or Vampire on Titus, the group and producer Travis Harrison mixed up home recordings and rehearsal tapes with studio sessions, so numbers like “Year of the Hard Hitter” and “Queen Parking Lot” are layered in functional murk, and more clearly engineered tracks such as “Physician” and “Woah Nelly” make use of their own sorts of sonic clutter (the filtered vocals on the former, the ambience of an old 78 on the latter). Surrender Your Poppy Field leans to the grand scale in its melodies and arrangements, but Pollard was clearly in a playful mood when the band cut this material, and after appearing on well over a hundred albums, he still sounds engaged and looking for new angles, even finding some here and there. While Surrender Your Poppy Field is less immediately approachable than the other albums from this period in the Guided by Voices saga, it’s experimental, not meandering, and for fans with a taste for their more esoteric side, this will hit the spot and then some. ~ Mark Deming

01. Year of the Hard Hitter (4:02)
02. Volcano (3:06)
03. Queen Parking Lot (1:29)
04. Arthur Has Business Elsewhere (2:55)
05. Cul-De-Sac Kids (2:36)
06. Cat Beats a Drum (2:38)
07. Windjammer (2:40)
08. Steely Dodger (2:44)
09. Stone Cold Moron (2:30)
10. Physician (3:37)
11. Man Called Blunder (2:50)
12. Woah Nelly (1:01)
13. Andre the Hawk (2:01)
14. Always Gone (1:37)
15. Next Sea Level (3:07)