Guided by Voices

Let’s Go Eat the Factory

Guided By Voices, Inc.

Jan 04, 2012 Issue #39 - Best of 2011 Bookmark and Share


It's about time! After a 15 year hiatus, the "classic lineup" of Guided By Voices-Robert Pollard, Tobin Sprout, Mitch Mitchell, Greg Demos, and Kevin Fennellhas finally returned to the studio for its first album of new material since 1996's Under the Bushes, Under the Stars. And the album is nothing less than a triumphant return, marked by all the melodic bliss, songwriting eccentricities, and lyrical enigmas that define Robert Pollard, but this time supported by his most crack band of collaborators.

Beginning with a repetitive, pounding riff and forceful overlaid chords, "Laundry and Lasers" kicks things off in true rock and roll fashion, Pollard's voice pushing underneath the noise. The largely acoustic "Doughnut for a Snowman" is a big sing-along, featuring one of Pollard's most melodic vocals since Do the Collapse. On "Spiderfighter," Pollard sounds almost sinister, singing creepily overtop a winding minor-key guitar before a single repeated piano note at the two-minute mark ushers in the song's ballad-esque second half, with calm piano and vocals continuing in fragile falsetto. Whether the shredding chords of "God Loves Us," the violins and cellos of "Hang Mr. Kite," the discordant pounding piano of "Either Nelson," or the wavy keyboard tones and church-like vibe of "Old Bones," Let's Go Eat the Factory proves a diverse album. Most songs stick to three minutes-or-less, but much more ground is covered than those time limits might suggest. All band members contribute to the album's grand scope and feel, not the least of which is Tobin Sprout, who co-wrote and sang on 6 of the 21 songs here, including the aforementioned "Spiderfighter."

I could go on and on. Let's Go Eat the Factory unfolds with each successive listen. Casual Pollard enthusiasts might be tempted to expect this is just another release-heck, there have been so many, one wouldn't be faulted for falling into that mindset. But this is different. This is Guided By Voices. Let's hope they don't leave us again. (www.gbv.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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