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Album Review

Compiling all of Guided By Voices' '80s albums — Devil Between My Toes, Sandbox, Self-Inflicted Aerial Nostalgia, and Same Place the Fly Got Smashed (the vinyl version includes Propeller, which was on the Vampire on Titus CD) — and adding a collection of rarities called King S**t and the Golden Boys, Box is a bit of an intimidating listen for some devoted fans, let alone beginners. On each of their albums, Guided By Voices packs their records full of brief songs — if they reach the three-minute mark, it's an epic for the band. That can make such a massive collection of music rather daunting; it all seems to speed by without much distinction, if you're listening casually, but on closer inspection, it withstands repeated listens. The first records, Devils and Sandbox, are unpolished versions of R.E.M.'s Murmur. On the next two albums, the group's distinctive, British Invasion-inspired abbreviated pop begins to coalesce; their music sounds more like messages than songs, albeit messages that are driven by undeniable hooks. Retailing for under $50, Box is a worthwhile investment for dedicated fans.

Biography

Formed: 1985 in Dayton, OH

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Inspired equally by jangle pop and arty post-punk, Guided by Voices created a series of trebly, hissy indie rock records filled with infectiously brief pop songs that fell somewhere between the British Invasion and prog rock. After recording six self-released albums between 1986 and 1992, the Dayton, Ohio-based band attracted a handful of fans within the American indie rock underground. With the 1994 release of Bee Thousand, the group became an unexpected alternative rock sensation, winning positive...
Full Bio

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