1992's Propeller was an album that Guided by Voices originally released themselves; it was eventually reissued on the Scat label one year later. All of the ingredients that make the group totally original are present -- rough production, strong melodies courtesy of Robert Pollard, and an overall sound straight out of the British clubs back in the mid-'60s. The opening epic, "Over the Neptune/Mesh Gear Fox," is two different songs sewn together (similar to T. Rex's "Tenement Lady" off their classic Tanx album). It starts off as a rock & roller and later changes into space rock, while "Quality of Armor" starts off as a cross between the Beatles and Elvis Costello's "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace Love and Understanding?" But Guided by Voices have a style all their own, evidenced by the irresistible combination of chromatic guitar riffs and anthemic choruses contained in "Exit Flagger," and in the experimental song splices throughout "Back to Saturn X Radio Report." "Circus World" is pure guitar pop, as is the now-classic "Weedking." Propeller proved to be an important stepping stone for the group, helping to set the stage for such later triumphs as Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato