Closer You Are: The Story of Robert Pollard and Guided by Voices

De Capo: Perseus. Aug. 2018. 368p. photos. notes. index. ISBN 9780306825767. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780306825774. MUSIC
Musician, journalist, and gamer Cutter contributes nicely to the growing literature on Dayton, OH, "lo-fi" indie rock legends Guided by Voices (GBV) and their frontman Robert Pollard. Through extensive interviews with Pollard and associates, the author relates a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race narrative about GBV's decades-long journey from intermittent passion project to critically acclaimed rockers. Cutter charts Pollard's path from star multisport high school athlete to eccentric schoolteacher to struggling musician with patience and charming detail. After the release of the LP Propeller, the band was about to call it quits. Cutter uses Malcolm Gladwell's notion of the "tipping point" to account for their unexpected rise to popularity in 1992 in the wake of the album's release. From this point forward, Pollard and GBV's narrative is one of prolific recording, prodigious drinking, constant touring, frequent lineup changes, and a litany of side projects. In short, it reads more like a list than "a story." Given Pollard's extensive recording output, a discography would have been useful.
VERDICT Essential for fans of GBV, lovers of 90s indie rock, and proud Ohioans.

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