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Mag Earwhig!

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Album Review

After Bee Thousand gave Guided By Voices a wider audience, it became evident that Robert Pollard saw himself as more than just the band's songwriter and frontman, and as his career ambitions grew, he became increasingly frustrated with the limitations of his band. Matters came to a head prior to the recording of Mag Earwhig! as Pollard broke ties with longtime guitarist and fellow songwriter Tobin Sprout and fired the rest of the group. While Pollard and Sprout soon buried the hatchet, Sprout opted not to stay on as a full-time member of the group, and Pollard was now Guided By Voices' uncontested leader. He hired Cleveland-based blues/garage rockers Cobra Verde as his backing band for the next GBV album, and Mag Earwhig! sounded a good bit different as a result; while there were a few stray four-track experiments with Sprout scattered about, most of the album had a solid, professional sheen, and Cobra Verde rock harder and sound tighter than any of the lineups Pollard had worked with in the past. Unfortunately, his songwriting wasn't quite up to his usual standards, which the new clarity of this album makes all the more evident. Pollard is incapable of making an album without a few fine songs, and "Bulldog Skin," "Sad If I Lost It," "Not Behind the Fighter Jet," and "Portable Men's Society" certainly fill the bill, but it may well be significant that Mag Earwhig!'s most exciting song, the joyous "I Am a Tree," was written by Cobra Verde's Doug Gillard. While there's plenty to enjoy here, Robert Pollard's next experiment in hi-fi record making, Do the Collapse, would prove to be much more successful.

Customer Reviews

The 1st review?

Impossible!? I can't be the first review. This is a solid effort by one of the greatest independent songwriters in the USA. Mag Earwhig! is first rate rock and roll. Pick it up today!

mag... mag... mag... mag...

"blessed is the way to a young mans heart".... sure to touch all young and old folk alike... this LP is chock full of good ones.

thee only teeny weenie itsy bitsy problem i would have.. AT ALL! with this... is... it was cobra verde in the fold.
BUT HEY- great, memorable tracks morphed from this unit of the band... and bobby got doug out of the deal~
a true fireman, and swell human.

dig it~YO

This albums destroys "Do the Collapse"

There is no comparison is quality . This is much better, even though at first I did not Cobra Verde's presence, I grew to love this album. It is a solid, all-around great rock album. And it's well-written lyrically, despite what the reviewer up at the top wrote who never even listened to the album or saw them live.

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