ARTIST: Guided by Voices
TITLE: Bee Thousand
YEAR RELEASED: 1994
CHART ACTION: None
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Some timeless GBV songs: Hardcore UFOs, Buzzard and Dreadful Crows, Echoes Myron, Gold Star for Robot Boy, I Am a Scientist
LINEUP: Robert Pollard, Jim Pollard, Tobin Sprout, Mitch Mitchell, Don Thrasher, Dan Toohey, Kevin Fennell, Greg Demos, Randy Campbell.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Another album that was intended as a ‘swan song’, instead it was the matriculation of GBV from obscure indie band to buzzworthy indie band.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Propeller and Vampire on Titus had some buzz and sold some copies to tasteful hipsters, but Robert Pollard was still struggling with finances in keeping a band, even one as loose knit and informal as GBV, together.
So instead of writing and recording a whole new record, he found a demos for some songs, and overdubbed them. The demos were in rough shape, but no matter – to the band it sounded pure and vital. (The drop out in “Hardcore UFOs” shows the issues they had with the tapes.) Only a few new songs were written. The result was even more buzz, record companies swirling about, and the decision to keep going as a ‘real’ band.
It’s not the best sounding record, of course, but you can still tell the pop-rock nuggets that Pollard and company have in store. There are issues (“Her Psychology Today” is really screwed up at the beginning, and then gets into the total gem of a track, then spins away from it again.) Fans of linear thought also will have issues. I mean, does anyone know what “Kicker of Elves” is all about?
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The ‘band’ as it were was whoever showed up where the recording equipment was located.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, there’s a huge version of all of the songs from this era that is for hardcore fans.
GRADE: A-: The quality of the songs totally makes up for the tape issues.