Mag Earwhig! is a 1997 (see 1997 in music) album release by indie rock band Guided by Voices. Following the dissolution of the "classic lineup," band-leader Robert Pollard hired Cleveland rockers Cobra Verde and formed a new GBV unit. This move was somewhat controversial among GBV fans, especially those who were loyal to the lo-fi lineups stretching back to the mid-1980s.Mag Earwhig! is a step-up in production from the band's trademark lo-fi sound; the Matador Records description of the record mentions that a first set of tracks were recorded with "a real producer," former Reivers leader John Croslin (who also produced Spoon's early records, and who is credited on this record as engineer rather than producer).A second session included "spontaneous, basement-sounding stuff." While the album includes a few tracks with the classic lineup ("Jane of the Waking Universe" being the last), the so-called "Guided by Verde" grouping is the album's dominant force.Mag Earwhig as a rock operaMag Earwhig! is a rock opera according to GBV frontman Robert Pollard. In the words of the band's press release for the album:"Pollard is the main character in this sprawling narrative, an insectile cartoon figure named the Magnificent Earwhig, who interacts with a wild cast of characters in songs evoking nostalgiac memories of an Ohio boyhood, starting one's first band, and inhaling American roadside pop culture."The press release also goes on to state that "despite the progressive conceptual 70's mindset informing this project, the record is still a collection of beautifully twisted pop songs and can be listened to as either an opera or just a series of rock arias."