Guided by Voices
Let's Go Eat the Factory
(Guided by Voices Inc / Fire Records)
The latest in another round of band reformations this year is Ohio indie darlings Guided By Voices. While the group disappeared for seven years, the band's distinct fuzzy pop remained present, courtesy of the songwriting machine that is the group's frontman Robert Pollard. Any thought Pollard would take it easy after 2004's Half Smiles of the Decomposed was swiftly swept aside as he went on to release a staggering 13 solo albums during the interval. Now, the band have reformed under what they deem is their "classic line-up" with guitarist Mitch Mitchell, Greg Demo on bass, drummer Kevin Fennel, multi-instrumentalist Tobin Sprout and of course the indomitable singer and guitarist Pollard. As a result, Let's Go Eat The Factory doesn't stray too far from the group's distinct lo-fi sound. The 21 songs here are packed into a lean 42-minute set which means each one makes its point quickly. The one-minute The Things That Never Needs sounds like a sweet yet fleeting idea, while The Waves' pretty melodies are carried by dense droning guitars. The folky Donut for a Snowman is beautifully ragged while the melodic jangle of Chocolate Boy is a sad reminder of REM, after the seminal band's recent disbandment. Let's Go Eat the Factory may not stand alongside the band's greatest work, but it's another solid offering that, while light, is nowhere near a throwaway effort.
* Saeed Saeed