Friday, January 06, 2006

Guided By Voices: Forever Since Breakfast (1986)

So like I've said many times before, I do not purchase vinyl because A) it is hard to come by where I'm from, and B) I would have nothing to play it on. Therefore, I am overjoyed that Guided By Voices' first EP, Forever Since Breakfast, came with the Hardcore UFO's box set. We're going backwards a bit to 1986. GBV may sound a lot different back in the 80's compared to their classic 90's sound, but one fact remains, they rocked from the very beginning...

By now, you have probably heard comparisons between early GBV and Murmur era REM. Those comparisons definately hold true for the first two GBV albums Devil Between My Toes and Sandbox, but I don't think so much on this EP. Land of Danger is a brilliant opening tune, with a pulsing riff throughout the verses, and (I admit) some Michael Stipe-ish vocals. How can you not love lyrics like, "This is the land of danger/Each and every home a battlefield/Oh, baby, this is the throat of a stranger/Searching for the blood that's now congealed". I usually don't pay to much attention to lyrics (I'm all about the vocals/music), but these ones hit me, largely due to the overlapping effect. When Pollard sings "Of danger, of danger, of danger" near the end, the song hits a perfect conclusion.

Let's Ride is, for a lack of a better vocabulary, a pretty song. It is oozing melody, and does come off slightly cheesy (but like good cheese, like Swiss), and I enjoy it. Like I Do has tunnel vocals over a picking acoustic guitar riff, and some various talking/media tracks in the background. It is a song about our nature of thinking firstly of ourselves, and comes off fairly depressing.

We are back to the straight-out rock with Sometimes I Cry, a song of lost love. And then there is the soft rock of She Wants To Know, which again (as does some tracks from Devil Between My Toes and Sandbox) reminds me of how similar early Bob sounds like Ed Kowalczyk from Live. Fountain of Youth and The Other Place are both decent tracks. The Other Place has a wicked chorus ("...when the fire that burns in the predator's eyes/Takes another disguise with a different face/And it all gets down to the people in our town/They don't wanna be found in the other place"). This may be my favorite from this EP.

I want to put Like I Do on my playlist, especially since it is different from everything else on the EP, but for now I'm holding off. I will place it on my "to re-visit" list for now. I was surprised a bit at how much I liked this EP, since I didn't love Devil Between My Toes (but I did like it), and hardly ever listen to Sandbox (my least favorite GBV album). It was difficult to pick what tracks to place on my playlist since they are all instantly listenable, and settled on four of them. However, if you want Forever Since Breakfast on CD, you'll have to pick up the Hardcore UFO's box set.

Tracklisting (Songs in bold make my GBV/Pollard playlist/box set):
01 Land of Danger
02 Let's Ride
03 Like I Do
04 Sometimes I Cry
05 She Wants To Know
06 Fountain Of Youth
07 The Other Place

Hardcore UFOs at Amazon


MFB said...

I first heard Forever Since Breakfast when Hardcore UFOs came out and it was the thing I was most excited for in the box. It did not dissappoint! It really shows GBV emerging fully-formed. It is somewhat derivative, but all the ingredients are there. If GBV had done nothing else, this album would be rediscoevered as a lost 80s classic. Thankfully, they did much, much more. Still, totally essential.

Anonymous said...

Tony's mamma loves this album. Rocks out with her socks out!

Satisfied '75 said...

werd up

Anonymous said...

Fully formed; really? If I'd heard this first I doubt I'd seek out more GBV stuff. To my ears this is the only Pollard record where everything's perfectly listenable but nothing's memorable. I like a lot of early Suitcase songs, so it's not that. I'm not a sound geek either way so it's not that. I go back to it again and again and think "This is not as bland as I thought" but 5 minutes after it's stopped I can't recall a single riff or vocal melody. I have a feeling that The Other Place and Like I Do are the relative highlights but can't back that up in any way.