My oh my, how far Ian Anderson has come. Back in 2007, Anderson's lo-fi dance project Guidance Counselor
was, at least to me, more of a silly gimmick than a skilled rock band. But sometime in the last year or so Anderson learned to hone his spastic live shows—often filled with stage diving and near nudity—into tight (Tyte!) and catchy dance jams, and "I Want I Want" manages to be both stylistically complex and really, really fun to thrash to.
I'm the first person to admit that, two years ago, I wasn't the biggest fan of Guidance Counselor. But then something changed: Anderson's monotone singing and distorted, crushing beats didn't disappear but started to work in the context of real songs. Anderson learned how to play the guitar. The jams started getting real and outgrew the myth of the crazy live shows. And when the band become a duo (first with Keil Corcoran of Starfucker/Pyramiddd on drums, now with Andy Parker) it really crystalized its sound. Anderson still worships Joy Division, but the songs sound like something else entirely.
"I Want I Want" is a good indicator of the entire record, starting off with pounding drums and squiggly electronic noises before descending into sheets of static guitar and a bouncy melody. Guidance Counselor work with the same elements as other local dance pop bands like Starfucker or Deelay Ceelay, but Anderson's music is dirtier, coated in noise and grim and life in the 21st century. The synths still glow, but the colors are muted.
Guidance Counselor's self-titled debut (12-inch vinyl by High Scores and Records, CD by Anderson's own Old Wave Records) is out on Tuesday, April 20. The band plays that night at Holocene with Fake Drugs and Astrology.
High Scores and Records
Photo by Conlan Murphy