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
Catalog No: KR622
If this is the future of pop music, bring it on. I can definitely get used to hearing this on a regular basis. This album sums up the past decade of music. By weeding out all the insipid crap that indie music has put out recently, Braids have been able to fuse together a compendium of good sounds and make it their own.
Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s voice is dreamy punk vibratos bouncing in between swirls of ambient synths and quaint guitars. She is a trusted chauffeur, guiding you seamlessly through blissful songs of pure emotion, never missing a turn. Every breath she emits flows above the music and into a special dormitory inside the soul. She is able to make you feel euphoria and rage at the same time. Few singers are able to do that.
The music is an electronic uproar, exploding with manipulation that crashes into waves of ambiance. They pair up to form an instrumental tour de force that compliment the vocals superbly. Adding the normalcy of drums and bass to the mix make these unique sounds more approachable. You can tell they took time crafting these songs and the organic flow of the album shows that all time was not in vain. This is a stunning debut from a band that will hopefully keep the new sounds coming.
Standout track: Lammicken
Rating: 4.5 stars
Posted by sethmol on 18/01/2011