The latest in a series of reformed bands, Guided by Voices return to their roots. Still hanging onto their garage echoes and short but sweet pop tunes, they give us another overwhelming array of songs that go by too quick. Like all their previous albums, there are songs that I just don’t understand and probably should have been omitted and then ones you wish would last just a little longer.
The lineup from their heyday has reconvened with just a few more wrinkles and nothing to show for it. Robert Pollard’s aging voice is about the only thing that has changed for these guys over the past 20 years. There are a lot more slow and morose ballads but they all end up sounding the same. The jumpy rhythms are still present. The crazy guitar sounds and overall weirdness stills pours sweet indie goodness down your throat. The album as a whole is an inconsistent bowl of lumpy mashed potatoes that’s only good with lots of salt and butter. There are a few great songs that are still worth hearing but it takes a lot of weeding through lumps.
Any vintage indie hipster or 90s indie connoisseur will love the similarities to their classic albums like Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes but there is no progression. They merely picked up where they left off but unfortunately the world moved on. There is no more need for their thoughtful feel good jaunts. Our musical brains need a different kind of nourishment now and these guys might any tricks up their sleeve.
Rating: 3 Stars
Standout Track: Doughnut for a Snowman
Posted by sethmol on 01/01/2012
The past decade has been a tumultuous journey of false hope and heartbreak. The sobering realities of life have set in and forced us all to grow up, putting our convictions through unbearable tests. We are no longer the wide-eyed naïve children of the 20th Century. The 21st Century has battered our bodies and our hearts, but it has taught us to be a stronger species. All of us have gone through trying times in recent history. We must not fall into their traps and forge a path out of the darkness, finding peace and perspective on the other side.
Isabel Monteiro of Drugstore went through many difficulties in the past 10 years. She has managed to bounce back and learn from her pressing experiences. It has made her a wiser and stronger woman, and it shows in her music. She has abandoned quaint and dreamy guitar riffs in favor of more simplistic musings. Her effervescent spirit still shines but now there’s an introspective shroud draped over her shoulders. She has settled down to a more serious tone, bent on showing us a glimpse of the hard life and how to overcome it.
Isabel’s story and the music influenced by it are an inspiration. Her silvery voice wraps around each word and lines your ears with insight, words of experience from a sage who has been down the road before. She has given us a reason to never give up and always forge ahead. Each day is a new adventure, a new chance to make the world right. If you wake up each day with that frame of mind, you can turn your life into whatever your heart desires.
Standout Track: Clouds
Rating: 4.5 stars
Posted by sethmol on 27/07/2011