17 Songs, 45 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Robert Pollard isn't going to edit himself; we know that. So it's up to his fans to do it themselves. 2013's English Little League is the fourth album by the reunited mid-'90s version of Guided by Voices in about a year. (A fifth one is planned for release before year's end.) Clearly, not even a prolific middle-age prodigy like Pollard can make clean contact this often. However, debating the merits of his relentless output is a sport of its own, and fans agreeing to disagreeing comes with the territory. Listeners have been noticing Tobin Sprout's contributions as well; here they include his Robyn Hitchcock–like "Islands (She Talks in Rainbows)" and acoustic Nikki Sudden–esque "The Sudden Death of Epstein's Ways." These are sweet, measured counterpoints to Pollard's brazen, slap-in-the-face pop songs, which can either nail it down ("Crybaby 4-Star Hotel") or linger in lo-fi purgatory ("A Burning Glass"). Pollard and Sprout put together the lovely "Noble Insect" and the enjoyably psychedelic "Birds." There's still plenty of gold in these hills. Just sift carefully.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Robert Pollard isn't going to edit himself; we know that. So it's up to his fans to do it themselves. 2013's English Little League is the fourth album by the reunited mid-'90s version of Guided by Voices in about a year. (A fifth one is planned for release before year's end.) Clearly, not even a prolific middle-age prodigy like Pollard can make clean contact this often. However, debating the merits of his relentless output is a sport of its own, and fans agreeing to disagreeing comes with the territory. Listeners have been noticing Tobin Sprout's contributions as well; here they include his Robyn Hitchcock–like "Islands (She Talks in Rainbows)" and acoustic Nikki Sudden–esque "The Sudden Death of Epstein's Ways." These are sweet, measured counterpoints to Pollard's brazen, slap-in-the-face pop songs, which can either nail it down ("Crybaby 4-Star Hotel") or linger in lo-fi purgatory ("A Burning Glass"). Pollard and Sprout put together the lovely "Noble Insect" and the enjoyably psychedelic "Birds." There's still plenty of gold in these hills. Just sift carefully.

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