Guided by Voices was one of the most popular indie-rock bands of the 1990s. Critics internationally have lauded the band's brain trust, Robert Pollard, as a once-in-a-generation artist. Pollard has been compared by The New York Times to Mozart, Rossini, and Paul McCartney (in the same sentence) and everyone from P. J. Harvey, Radiohead, R.E.M., the Strokes, and U2 has sung his praises and cited his music as an influence.
But it all started rather prosaically when Pollard, a fourth-grade teacher in his early 30s from Dayton, Ohio, began recording songs with drinking buddies in his basement. James Greer, an acclaimed music writer and former Spin editor, enjoys a unique advantage in having played in the band for two years. This personal connection grants him unparalleled insight and complete access to the workings of Pollard's muse.
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
This piece is most suitable for superfans. The author deep-dives into band squabbles and life stories of the GBV extended family a little more than the music itself. Which is not say, however, that a proper musicological analysis is absent. Pollard's work is powerful for reasons very difficult to pin down. Greer does so valiantly.
Any additional comments?
I would have enjoyed more technical details about the recordings. Equipment used, microphones used, musical techniques. There is a good amount of this in the book, but I'm an engineer. I always want more.