19. Sandbox (1987)

Guided by Voices have never made a bad album, exactly. Nevertheless, even Pollard was unimpressed with the group’s second record which, like each of the band’s first four albums, was only distributed to about a few hundred people at most. “It’s my least favorite,” he told gbv.com in 1997. (A web exclusive! from 1997!) “We attempted a power pop, Cheap Trick thing with it, and the experiment failed.” Cheap Trick may have been the inspiration, but the whole thing sounds more like a poor man’s version of classic ’80s SST bands, except that GBV lacked the ferocity of Dinosaur Jr., the attitude of early Sonic Youth, and at the time at least, the melodic sophistication of the Meat Puppets. That said, Sandbox is the most cohesive of the band’s first four albums, and songs like “Everyday” and “Trap Soul Door” prove that Pollard always had an effortless knack for vocal melodies. It’s also hilarious to hear GBV try to pull off a “cow-punk” song with “I Certainly Hope Not.”

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