Guided by Voices

Surrender Your Poppy Field

BY Alex WhethamPublished Feb 18, 2020

With over 30 albums under their belt, it can be understandably hard to get excited about a new Guided by Voices album in 2020. Led by songwriter Robert Pollard, the band have gone through endless iterations, but if there is one facet of the group that has always been consistent, it's that they always sound like they make music for the pure joy of it. And on Surrender Your Poppy Field, this continues to work to their benefit.
In typical Guided by Voices fashion, the album consists of a variety of indie rock cuts that sound straight out of the '90s. Pollard sounds as passionate as ever, if a bit aged, but it never hurts the solid melodies he sings over tried-and-true rock instrumentation.
On "Arthur Has Business Elsewhere," the band prove that their signature sound is as solid as ever. Pollard's vocal melodies occasionally channel the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne, and it makes for a standout track on the record. "Volcano," another highlight, features arguably the strongest chorus on the record and one of the stickiest vocal melodies the band has had in several releases.
Like on many other GBV albums, the shorter cuts serve as nice interludes, but on tracks like "Woah Nelly," they tend to take away from the flow. Plus several cuts, like "Always Gone" and "Physician," struggle to do anything that other songs on the album don't do better.
Regardless Surrender Your Poppy Field is another solid entry in the Guided by Voices canon, and one that fans or curious onlookers that want a newer entry point into the group shouldn't miss.

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