52 Albums: Week 2
The first Guided By Voices album featuring the “classic” lineup since 1996, Let’s Go Eat The Factory manages to recapture all that is fantastic, along with all that is frustrating, about Guided By Voices.
If you are a Guided By Voices fan, you know what to expect by now — Lots of short, catchy songs blending indie-rock with punk and British Invasion influences. The highlights on this new album rank right up there with the best songs from Guided By Voices catalog and, if good things come in threes, you can put this album on your CD rack alongside the latest albums from Dinosaur Jr and Superchunk as evidence that many of the biggest names from 90’s indie rock have not lost a step.
Unfortunately, something else Guided By Voices fans have come to expect is a lot of filler. Guided By Voices albums are bursting at the seams with ideas, some of them good and some of them not so good. Perhaps Robert Pollard feels like he needs to make up for the shortness of the songs with volume or perhaps he is uninterested in filtering his output, leaving it to the listener to decide what works and what doesn’t. Whatever the reason, I would prefer a shorter, tighter album myself.
As with the last album I reviewed, iTunes offers a solution. In fact, this time I’m even going to recommend the edited playlist:
- Laundry and Lasers
- Doughnut for a Snowman
- Hang Mr Kite
- God Loves Us
- The Unsinkable Fats Domino
- Who Invented the Sun
- Chocolate Boy
- The Things That Never Need
- Old Bones
- The Room Taking Shape
- We Won’t Apologize for the Human Race
That makes for a pretty short album, clocking in at just under 30 minutes but, rumor has it that there is a second Guided By Voices album being released this year. I suspect the ultimate solution will be to take the best tracks off both albums and combine them to create the first ever full-length Guided By Voices album with no filler.
When you’re talking about Guided By Voices, filler comes with the territory so, that issue aside, I still give this album 4 stars. It stands right up there with my favorite Guided By Voices albums and is a real treat for any fan.
Finally, as a post script, I have a hard time discussing Guided By Voices without gratuitously dropping in my favorite GBV song, The Best of Jill Hives.
I’ll take any excuse to hear that song.