Now that he's resurrected Guided by Voices, Robert Pollard writes like his life depends on it. Class Clown Spots a UFO, the second of three GBV albums planned for this year, channels the anything-goes attitude of early band albums but with a higher quality of the group's trademark low-fi. As usual, Pollard displays his gifts and flaws with equal passion: surrealist romantic poet ("Chain to the Moon"), Who devotee ("He Rises! Our Union Bellboy"), middle-aged punk ("Hang Up and Try Again"), psych-pop provocateur ("Tyson's High School"), '60s rock experimentalist ("Billy Wire"/"All of This Will Go"). Pollard has always managed the unlikely feat of shaping recognizable influences into wildly original sounds. Class Clown Spots a UFO is this season's brilliantly scuffed offering. — Brian Baker
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