Thursday, April 06, 2006

Guided By Voices: Hold On Hope (2000)

I've said it once, and I'll say it again, Hold On Hope is my favorite Guided By Voices' EP. Take the over-production away from Do The Collapse, and what you have left over is a more true to GBV sound, and an overall better product. I should note there are other versions of this EP which include a song called Perfect This Time, which I do not have. If you have this track, please leave a comment and let me know what it is like. Either way, the 9-track version of the EP is spectacular, and at the cheap price there is no reason why anyone who considers themselves even remotely a fan of GBV should not have it...

Underground Initiations starts things off with a bang. All songs on this EP are under three minutes (except for the title track), and are mostly of the quick shot of rock variety. Underground Initiations definately falls in this category, as does the next song, Interest Position. However, Interest Position almost has a Blue Oyster Cult kind of thing going on. It is also bookended by a rocking riff.

Fly Into Ashes is the stand-out gem on Hold on Hope, and if there is one song to pick out and say, "why didn't they Do The Collapse-a-size this song?", it would be it. It is a happy tune, which I always include in my GBV-related playlists.

Tropical Robots is a beautiful little acoustic ditty which doesn't even make the minute-mark, though it is followed by a similar (though more campfire-singalong-ish), A Crick Uphill. This song really picks up near the end, adding sonic guitar and a heavier drum track which takes it to a completely different place.

Idiot Princess reminds me of some tunes on Pipe Dreams of Instant Prince Whippet (which to me, is Hold on Hope's EP brother - they kind of go well together). It is a heavy track which sounds as if Pollard is singing through a walkie-talkie (it even includes the words "Over and out").

Avalanche Aminos is another obvious inclusion in my ultimate GBV playlist. Though maybe slightly repetitive, the constant guitar riff is extremely catchy, and the chorus that appears near the end is excellent. Do The Collapse is an instrumental begging for lyrics, and I've wrote about Hold on Hope on my entry for the album Do The Collapse. So for those who are confused, there is a song called Hold on Hope on Do the Collapse, and a song called Do the Collapse on Hold on Hope.

This EP is perfect, except for maybe the title track which many people seem to have a problem with. In fact, it is probably more out of place on this EP than on Do the Collapse. I would definately consider this EP essential for the GBV collection, and maybe even a good entry point to a new fan.

Tracklisting (songs in bold make my ultimate Pollard/GBV playlist/box set):
01 Underground Initiations
02 Interest Position
03 Fly Into Ashes
04 Tropical Robots
05 A Crick Uphill
06 Idiot Princess
07 Avalanche Aminos
08 Do The Collapse
09 Hold On Hope


Edison's Ashes said...

Excellent call on this.

It was my introduction to the GBV canon, and for a while was the center of obsession with them, despite all the baffling negative reviews of Do the Collapse-era material. (ie, What? It doesn't sound like Alien Lanes?! Buggery!)

Haven't heard this in a while - it's about time I took Fast Japanese Spin Cycle off constant repeat and started playing this constantly again (again). Such great little songs, lost gems.


The Rock Robot said...

Hey Edison's Ashes, thanks for the comment!

What an introduction this must have been! I truly believe Hold on Hope (the EP, not the song) is different than all other GBV releases, and at the very least, the best of the hi-fi GBV sound.

Karl Bakla said...

even this hard core punk rocker loves this song,

thomas said...

i love this ep too, especially 'underground intitiations', 'a crick uphill' and 'fly into ashes', so crisp and catchy, i think it plays more like a mini album too, i love that the title track comes last. I never quite understood the hate for HOH, the song, though i understand why Bob feels bitter about it and pulled it from the set (that Jack Joseph Puig remix that they tried to use is really bizarre). HOH was a very powerful live song in my opinion. I have 'Perfect this time' and it is damn perfect, really! I can burn you a copy or find some way to get it to you if you want...

Dan said...

y'know, "do the collapse" DOES have lyrics...check out the song "girl from the sun" off tonics

The Rock Robot said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. Hold on Hope definately does play as a mini-album.

And wow Dan, I never really caught on that before!

Anonymous said...

That's funny...because Bob has said in interviews that the Hold on Hope EP is the worst thing he's ever done...

I don't mind the song particularly, but from what I can understand, Bob freaking HATES it.

Anonymous said...

I've never understood why "HOH" has become such a neglected, oft-dismissed track - it's the best thing on DTC by a long way IMHO (tho' I'd suggest DTC is GBV's worst LP by a l-o-n-g way). I've been with GBV since the Scat years btw, so I'm not some TVT-era newbie either! IBx

Maycon Luzan said...

I am Brazilian, very short this band, I apologize for imperfect English, but your blog is very great, pointed to several comrades who enjoy a good rock in Brazil, total success.

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly. Same list choices too.

Do The Collapse/Girl From The Sun isn't the only Tonics crossover here either: Idiot Princess is basically Reptilian Beauty Secrets rocked up.