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album number 3 of the guided by voices' reunion year of 2012. many bands struggle to release three albums in their career, never mind three in one year. it would be one thing if these were tossed off lo-fi affairs of the sort one might expect from the fellows who made the defining records of that so-called genre, 'bee thousand' (1994) and 'alien lanes' (1995). while the debut from the reunited 'classic' line-up, 'let's go eat the factory', contained its share of basement gems, both that record and its follow-up class clown spots a ufo are notable more for the preponderance of properly recorded rock: a testament to the years bandleader robert pollard has spent refining both his songwriting and his approach to recording. 'the bears for lunch' is not a great deal different in that regard, but right off, from the opening track 'king arthur the red,' with its full-throated riffery, slam-tastic drums, and even some show-offy lead guitar shredding, it's evident that gbv mach 2 may just now be hitting its stride. the progression is not dissimilar to the one the band made from 'alien lanes' to its 1996 high-water mark 'under the bushes, under the stars', both in terms of longer, more fleshed-out songs and let's call it a semi-pro approach to recording fidelity. for all the well-deserved acclaim gbv's first two records this year have garnered, bears is a step up in every sense.
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