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Guided by Voices

Suitcase 2: American Superdream Wow (Recordhead)


Reviewers' time-honored complaint about multidisc releases maintains that any given boxed set could have been shrunk to one great 12-song album. But at 100 tracks, this four-disc odds-and-ends collection from the defunct Guided by Voices is just too sprawling to properly condense into one LP.

Suitcase 2 is a music library unto itself, one that invites customizing. Toss in "A Proud and Booming Industry," a piece of lilting perfection that might be one of maestro Robert Pollard's Top 10 tunes, with the supple jangle of a dozen tracks like "Cox Municipal Airport Song," and you've got a great indie-pop album. Lash the Oblivians-style garage rock of, say, "Shake It Out" to soulful, '50s-ish gems such as "Do Be," and you've got retro heaven. Likewise, there's a better psych album in here than you're likely to find as a dusty reissue; there's beer-chugging, '70s-rock grandeur; there's scuzzy punk; and there's plenty of bracing, experimental noise. Unfortunately, for those of us who would take the producer fantasy to its conclusion, there's also a consistent current of tape hiss, registering at varying levels from track to track. Then again, you can't have everything for a lousy 40 bucks, can you?

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