Guided By Voices - Sunfish Holy Breakfast
or better or worse, we here at Stylus, in all of our autocratic consumer-crit greed, are slaves to timeliness. A record over six months old is often discarded, deemed too old for publication, a relic in the internet age. That's why each week at Stylus, one writer takes a look at an album with the benefit of time. Whether it has been unjustly ignored, unfairly lauded, or misunderstood in some fundamental way, we aim with On Second Thought to provide a fresh look at albums that need it.
This is a great mini-album made towards the beginning of GBV's crisis period (the sub-par Under The Bushes, Sprout's resignation, and a new GBV). Sunfish Holy Breakfast starts off with some basement banter which also started off 1992's Propeller, but instead of bursting out with a great rocker, Sunfish Holy Breakfast starts with Tobin Sprout's "Jabberstroker," which is better than anything he wrote for Under The Bushes Under The Stars (which was probably due to the amount of quality songs on his fantastic first solo album, Carnival Boy). "Stabbing A Star" was covered by Thurston Moore on the GBV tribute album, and although I have not heard his version, I'm betting that it is superior to the version here. Thankfully it is over quickly and is followed up by the pretty "Canteen Plums," and "Beekeeper Seekers Ruth." "Cocksoldiers and Their Postwar Stubble," is a pretty good outtake from Under The Bushes Under The Stars, and has a polished Kim Deal production, which sticks out quite a bit from the rest of the release.
Thankfully the rest of the mini-album, features softer, sadder, more nostalgic songs. "If We Wait," is a classic (enough said). "The Winter Cows," "Heavy Metal Country," and "A Contest Featuring Human Beings" show the type of saddness Pollard was probably experiencing during the time. Perhaps that is why "Stabbing A Star" and "Cocksoldiers..." are so out of place, because they seem too forced. I usually just skip past those songs, Bob would have wanted it that way...I think.
By: Sean Wright
Published on: 2003-09-01