Robert Pollard and the always changing line up of Guided By Voices are never quiet enough for you to let them slip from your memory. Pollard, especially. That guy writes until he feels like putting out a record and you’re left with a massive hunk of songs that feel incomplete and raw.
Raw is what GBV is always about. There are no games, there are no tricks, there’s no production, there’s just rock. With a long, enigmatic history and a loud-mouth front man, the band is never short on surprises. After a ‘classic’ lineup reunion at Matador XX, everyone seemed to think that the glory days were back. Let Us Eat The Factory is the first real record since 04 and it is more Guided By Voices than ever.
What that means, I’m not sure that I can even begin to explain. It’s jangle-y, it’s pop, it’s rock, it’s punk. It is all the things that GBV are. What it isn’t, in my opinion, populated with songs that even come close to memorable. Robert Pollard has written some fantastic songs. Alien Lanes’ ‘Motor Away’ and Bee Thousand’s ‘Gold Star For Robot Boy’ are two songs that really stick out in my mind, especially since they’re surrounded by short songs that leave me feeling definitely unsatisfied. Let Us Eat The Factory is exactly the same. A few great songs surrounded by unmemorable ones. It’s such a challenge to listen to a record like this for that reason. All the songs fit together so well, the record is fluid, it really feels like one big adventure. I have no doubt that’s what Pollard wants for everything he does, for it to fit together like one big picture. That’s a wonderful idea and all, don’t get me wrong, but it falls short here.
Perhaps I hold it against tough standards, like Bee Thousand or Alien Lanes. But, something about Let Us… just falls so short. It’s out now on GBV, Inc.