Now that Guided by Voices have lost their novelty status–the initial shock provided by their high-powered melodies and sheer rock might–it’s plain that they’re nothing like the revolutionaries some intimated them to be a few years back. They just write better songs (loads of them too) than most rock bands. The forthcoming Under the Bushes, Under the Stars (Matador), which sports no less than 24 songs, adds a few wrinkles to the band’s approach. Most noticeable is the fact that they finally used a decent recording studio: their previous hiss-heavy lo-fi strains are pretty much gone. They’ve also done some experimentation. Acoustic guitar and piano flourishes are added to the murky mix, and the quintet has tossed in some dynamic radicalism–tension-and-release, static-sound sheets, etc–but mostly it’s the same old band. Of course, that can only mean that Robert Pollard has come up with more than a dozen of his indelible hooks, the thing that attracted people to GBV in the first place. They’re also one of the best straight-up live rock bands I’ve ever seen. Pollard is no Roger Daltrey–thank fucking God–but GBV does have skeletal similarities to the Who, apparent in the band’s raw power. While most rock these days seems hell-bent on marginalizing itself, Guided by Voices make a strong case for relevance. New Radiant Storm King open. Saturday, 11:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203. PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.