Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Reviewed :: Boston Spaceships - Let It Beard

Robert Pollard's been threatening a double LP since the mid 90's, but for whatever reason, those projects never came to fruition. Most notably Guided by Voices' aborted The Power of Suck, with several tracks from that session finding a home on GBV's classic recording, Under The Bushes, Under The Stars. Well, it took 16 years but the double album Pollard's been trying make has finally arrived and to put it bluntly it's been well worth the wait. According to Pollard Let It Beard "is a subconscious concept album about the sorry state of rock and roll". For the sessions Pollard recorded 40 acoustic demos, that he delivered to multi instrumentalist, Chris Slusarneko (GBV) that were then trimmed down to 26. Slusarenko and drummer John Moen (The Decemberists) quickly worked up some basic tracks and over the period of 6 months added new sounds and arrangements to the tracks including, horns, strings, and some notable guest contributions.

Let It Beard is the 5th and final full length from Boston Spaceships, and as with the bands previous output they've managed to take another step forward, albeit this time it's a quantum one. It's almost as if this is the album Pollard has been hinting at since releasing the Spaceships' debut Brown Submarine. For a record that clocks in at 75 minutes, you might think there is some skipable material on Let It Beard, quite the contrary actually. This is one the most varied, engaging, and addictive LP I've heard in years and one that should be listened to in one sitting. The album starts off with Blind 20-20, the song features 4 time changes, not to mention plenty of guitar crunch and a bit of cello. J.Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.) shows up to provide a guitar solo on Tourist U.F.O. which only enhances the already staggering and melancholic anthem. Elsewhere Colin Newman (Wire) guests on the punked up, You Just Can't Tell, Steve Wynn (The Dream Syndicate) appears on the psych pop of I Took On The London Guys and Mitch Mitchell provides guitar (and cigarettes, we assume) on the fist pumping You in My Prayer. But it's the more noise riddled tracks like German Field of Shadows and A Hair in Every Square Inch of The House that add some weight and complexity to the album. Let It Beard and it's spectacular 26 songs is a masterwork and one of Pollard's finest records. Yeah, you need this.

Let It Beard was released today August 2, 2011 on Guided By Voices, Inc.

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