Sunday 5 April 2020


Guided By Voices have a 25th anniversary edition of Alien Lanes coming out. There is of course no point to this other than record company profit margins.

Alien Lanes opens with the immortal lyric: “The new drunk drivers have hoisted the flag.” It was a triumphant line celebrating the new. So forgive me but I’m far more excited about a new band hoisting the flag for GBV’s ‘4 Ps’ - pop, punk, prog, psych - than I am about a reissue.

The irresponsible reprobates driving the tour van into uncharted terrain this week are Portabella, brothers from South Carolina, who have apparently “been making music in some form for the last 20 years with a rotating cast of friends popping in”. Sounds like code for sniffing glue in their mum’s garage while failing to find full-time employment.

And their 15 songs sound like a lot of happy accidents, short, sharp songs, blurring genre lines, no compromise, frantically manic. They brilliantly show ingenuity, perseverance and extreme individualism.They have no restraints. Or anniversary reissue plans.

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