Of the six and a half albums released since the resurrection of Guided By Voices in 2011, The Bears for Lunch is arguably the strongest (with 2014’s Cool Planet a close second). There is an energy and playfulness in a lot of these tunes that's lacking in the other albums. "Dome Rust" and "Finger Gang" are prime examples of the kind of oddball hookiness Robert Pollard, GBV’s lead songwriter, has mastered for decades. “Amorphous Surprise” continues in this giddy, surrealist vein.
I don’t know much about Mikal Cronin. He has two albums out under his name, MCII and a self-titled debut that only hinted at the accomplishments found on here. He is obviously an acolyte of the kind of very melodic power pop music that doesn’t get a lot of attention. Does he reveal too much about himself in his music? Is it that he’d rather let his songs speak for themselves than have to provide a press-ready narrative? Who knows?
Stuck on Nothing is the debut album by Philadelphia-based rock band, Free Energy. Free Energy is Scott Wells, Paul Sprangers, Evan Wells, Nicholas Shuminsky, and Sheridan Fox. According to Wikipedia, Free Energy falls into the category of power pop. Power pop is a “popular musical genre that draws its inspiration from 1960s British and American pop and rock music.” The album is full of fun, catchy songs featuring lots of guitar and vocal harmonies.