Home > News & Reviews > Guided By Voices

Guided By Voices - Nowhere To Go But Up (Album Review)

Wednesday, 06 December 2023 Written by Craig Howieson

Photo: Trevor Naud

There is a decidedly festive thrust to The Race Is On, The King Is Dead, the opener on Guided By Voices’ third, and one can only assume final, full length release of 2023. Amid tolling bells and swaggering guitars, frontman Robert Pollard is in celebratory form as he ushers in another set of songs that are almost impossible to fathom.

But, then again, quality and quantity has never been much of an issue for the man from Dayton, Ohio, with ‘Nowhere To Go But Up’ being the bands 39th official release by best estimates. For the most part the album falls within the rockier region of the band’s back catalogue — it runs on chugging guitars, piercing lead lines and Pollard’s penchant for fuzzed out Beatles melodies. 

So far, so GBV. It would be easy for a band such as Guided By Voices to regurgitate their enviable past, but these are not mere retreads.

Stabbing At Fractions is one of the finest moments of ‘90s alt-rock you could hope to hear from a group now more than old enough to remember it the first time round. And Jack of Legs feels like another seminal moment for the group. 

A heavy psych drive is derailed by swirling guitars before Pollard sings of, “an eternity in the fraternity of long distance men.” Whether this is self-referential, a mere observation or complete stream of nonsense, as often the case with Pollard, is anyone's guess. But it signals a dramatic shift in the track and over the next two minutes the band change gear rapidly before basking in a fanfare of horns. It is a wild, sublime moment.

When almost every album is as good as the last it is very hard to tire of Guided By Voices. Always great, and frequently exceptional, they remind us as we stare down the end of another year that they are one of the best we have, and thankfully we’re unlikely to have to wait too long until the next instalment.


We don't run any advertising! Our editorial content is solely funded by lovely people like yourself using Stereoboard's listings when buying tickets for live events. To keep supporting us, next time you're looking for concert, festival, sport or theatre tickets, please search for "Stereoboard". It costs you nothing, you may find a better price than the usual outlets, and save yourself from waiting in an endless queue on Friday mornings as we list ALL available sellers!

Let Us Know Your Thoughts

Related News

No related news to show
< Prev   Next >