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Gringo

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Editors’ Notes

Robert Pollard, once of Guided By Voices, never stops writing or recording songs. This collaboration, with former GBV members, brothers Todd and Tim Tobias, is their seventh album together and it’s still a small slice of Pollard’s grand oeuvre. At this point, there are no real surprises. Sure, certain tunes lean towards ‘60s power pop, others towards a modest ‘70s prog rock, but all are led by Pollard’s Anglo-charmed lead vocals and a sense that melodies forever swim in Pollard’s head alongside non-sequiturs and brief moments of thoughtful clarity. “Witness Hill” and “Every Moment Flame On” start things with his usual energized chug, but “Ships from Prison to Prison” slows things for a contemplative ballad highlighted by a simple keyboard line that haunts the acoustic guitars and begins a trip into slower, weirder terrain. “Bad Baby Blue” uses a Valium-laced groove to attain its power-pop command. “Before It Walks” trudges through a pulsing field. “Letters from a Witch” recalls a flower stolen from ‘60s folk troubadour Donovan’s garden. “Arizona Blacktop Company” and “Hot Water Wine” follow with stoned, phased-out ruminations. Pollard keeps it weird.

Customer Reviews

nice change of pace

Something a little different from Uncle Bob and the Tobias Brothers, but very much in line with the promising new directions the Circus Devils displayed on Ataxia. If you were on the fence about some of the earlier Circus Devils albums, which I find progressively more brilliant, you may find yourself liking this. If you are into Bob's more pop-oriented side, you will enjoy this. And if you're into the wilder stuff, it's still here, but more subtle.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Although it would be easy to dismiss Circus Devils as just another indie project by Guided by Voices founder Robert Pollard, the band encompasses a different form of musical exploration altogether, and dismisses the styles of his solo endeavors for a more ominous and nightmarish tone exploring the themes of good and evil. According to the group's whimsical website bio, Circus Devils formed because a dog-faced man approached each member on separate occasions to deliver the message, "Circus Devils...
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Gringo, Circus Devils
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