Guided by Voices- King Shit & the Golden Boys (1995)

As if the day would never come, Guided by Voices are revisiting the spotlight once more. Earlier this month the band agreed to take on a reunion tour of their classic lineup circa '94-'96, and Robert Pollard has already announced to release five albums within a ten month span. However, none of these albums will be under the name GBV.

King Shit & the Golden Boys is as non-traditional as any of Guided by Voices' numerous records. It originated as part of the band's first box set released in 1995 suitably titled, Box. King Shit was included as an LP of previously unavailable material, reminiscing old tunes from Bee Thousand and miscellaneous demos from their first four releases. The record is satisfying in terms of the GBV signature lo-fi to the extreme, but the static and background noise doesn't take away from the beauty that the group has managed to slip in between grit through all of these years. Call it wankery, but I find that a lot of lo-fi recordings tend to be a lot more interesting than a solid studio cut. Maybe it's something about the buzzing, empty air, or the background noise you hear right before the first strike of a song. Nothing is more intimate than a pure, straight cut of a band playing together in a small room.

For those who are already familiar with Guided by Voices, it won't be hard to pinpoint old tunes and melodies found on previous releases from the prolific band. "At Odds with Dr. Genesis" can be easily recognized as an extended cut of Bee Thousand's gorgeous "Ester's Day." Other mellow songs like "Don't Stop Now," as unnerving as it may sound near the end, are fairly catchy and easy to come back to. It is a trait that makes a Guided by Voices track so prone to love: short, jingly tunes with a sentimental intimacy; Robert Pollard's silly and sometimes nonsensical lyrics are also a factor in this. You just can't help but love a lot of these songs.