The Club Is Open: Guided By Voices’ Alien Lanes

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While the buzz that came with Guided By Voices’ breakthrough album, Bee Thousand was still strong they released their follow-up Alien Lanes in 1995. Even though this album sounds slightly more polished at times it follows the same style of its predecessor with short fast Classic Rock-influenced songs.

Alien Lanes featured the classic lineup of Robert Pollard, Tobin Sprout, Jim Pollard, Mitch Mitchell, and Kevin Fennell.

Guided By Voices – Alien Lanes (1995)

At 28 songs in 40 minutes, this album is an onslaught. “A Salty Salute” opens the album with a crunchy bassline and ends with the announcement “The Club is Open.”

Some tracks on the album are reminiscent of the sound of its predecessor, Bee Thousand while others sound more produced and slick. “Game of Pricks” comes off sounding almost like a Beatles cover. As is the case with a lot of the tracks on Alien Lanes, you can really hear the Classic Rock influences, they are just expressed as lo-fi Indie Rock.

Big earworms such as “The Closer You Are,” “My Valuable Hunting Knife,” and “Blimps Go 90” stay with you and show the diversity in Robert Pollard’s songwriting.

The only time (thus far) that I have seen Guided By Voices live was the Bee Thousand Tour in 1995 and during the show, Robert Pollard announced the group’s new album (Alien Lanes) was being released the following month. He also said the next album (Under the Bushes, Under the Stars) was already in the can. This is the kind of pace they have returned to recently, having released four or five albums in the last year or so with a new one (It’s Not Them, It Couldn’t Be Them, It Is Them) on the way later in 2021.

Despite being released over 25 years ago, Alien Lanes still holds up well and is considered a classic not only in the GBV canon but also in Rock history in general. It is often included in best of all time lists and deservedly so.

Check out the video below to see the 25th-anniversary pressing video I put regarding the vinyl pressing of Alien Lanes.

Dig this article? Check out the full archives of Surface Noise, by John Siden, here: https://vinylwritermusic.com/surface-noise-archives/

About Post Author

John Siden

John Siden grew up surrounded by music from a young age. John’s father played guitar and performed in bars prior to John being born, and his mother also loved music. There was always music playing around the house or while driving in the car, mostly Country and Western on all forms, including vinyl, 8-track, and cassette. John’s first personal interest in music was piqued when he saw an ad for the Monkees TV show, featuring reruns, which as an eight-year-old, he had no idea these episodes were from the ’60s. This was John’s first musical obsession. Soon after, he was introduced to KISS and became a big fan. After the murder of John Lennon, the Beatles obsession began as John had not really heard much of their music up until then. It led to an education on the Beatles and the 60’s music as a whole. This occupied a lot of John’s teenage years. Following that, John got interested in all music especially Metal in the 80’s and Alternative/College type stuff later. Collecting records soon became his main hobby. In the ’90s when CDs took over, John still held onto his record collection, but just added a lot of CDs to the music collection, occasionally taking a special trip to record stores like Zulu records in Vancouver, which were hard to find at the time, and getting something special. John picked up the vinyl collecting bug again around 2013 when vinyl was making a comeback and a lot of bands were offering bundle deals on pre-orders where you would be able to get vinyl, CD, and a download code. Gradually more stores started opening up, and the addiction returned; vinyl collecting became a full-time hobby again for John. John’s interest in writing has been around for as long as Internet access has been a thing; he had a blog on Tumblr called My Diminishing Returns -John Writes about music, where he expressed his thoughts on music. Since 2019, John has had a YouTube channel called <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfhoLKqpF5p3FGLZgURyaww&quot; target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Surface Noise</a> where he discusses music mostly focused on vinyl. John works in the security industry and also is an avid reader and lover of film. He also plays guitar and sometimes accordion.
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