1997's Mag Earwhig! served as the first Guided By Voices album released after the dissolution of their classic line-up and finds Robert Pollard and Tobin Sprout backed by Cobra Verde. It's a conceptual rock opera inspired by the Who's Tommy, the Pretty Things' S.F. Sorrow, Genesis' The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, and the Edgar Broughton Band's Wasa Wasa. 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. Despite the progressive conceptual 70's mindset, 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.