The Keene Brothers

Billed as 'pure pop magic', The Keene Brothers is a collaboration between GBV's Robert Pollard and one-time Matador alumni Tommy Keene. Although not exactly 'pop,' Blues And Boogie Shoes is far and away the most solid and cohesive of these three new records.

Death Of The Party and Island Of Lost Lucys are classic mid-90's-style Guided By Voices. The album has far fewer of the throw-away tracks of the other two new albums, and Keene's polished guitar work adds a layer of sonic quality and sophistication to Pollard's often rough-and-ready recording style - particularly on instrumental tracks like The Camouflaged Friend.

THe album occasionally treads the line a bit to close to FM radio A.O.R., but Pollard's eclectic lyrics always pull things back from soft-rock meltdown.

This Time Do You Feel It? is a masterpiece, borrowing heavily from Pinball Wizard (perhaps Pollard's most overt tribute to heros The Who). The song is followed by A Blue Shadow, another great Pollard song, which brings the album to a worthy close.

So, as usual, 41 new songs from the over-active mind of Robert Pollard has yielded a number of classic tracks, easily distilled down. In the case of these three albums however, those gems are often unpolished rocks.