Guided By Voices – Earthquake Glue (Matador)
If you’re a die-hard skeptic of Guided By Voices, and wish that they’d make another Bee Thousand and quit riding the ‘wish we were popular’ horse they’ve been on for years, quit reading. And skip Earthquake Glue. The old lo-fi, frustrated-math-teacher days of GBV are long behind them and aren’t coming back. For their past few albums Bob Pollard and his boys have tried to point themselves in the direction of a hit, and it looks like this time they might have one.
Earthquake Glue is good solid rock, coated with that faux-Dada patina that Pollard has refined over the years. And it features some of Pollard’s best songwriting. At times it sounds like GBV is channeling some lost Who rock opera, as written by Marcel DuChamp. And that’s good.
And gone is the filler – this one is tight. Standout tracks include “My Kind Of Soldier,” a buoyant rocker that sounds amazing live, “Useless Inventions,” a brilliant take on the technology of modern life (and a seriously rocking tune), “The Best Of Jill Hives,” very close in spirit to “I Am A Scientist,” and “I’ll Replace You With Machines,” a warp-drive anthem with a catchy guitar core. This is great stuff – “Useless Inventions” is one of the best recent GBV songs I’ve heard, and deserves to be heard by everyone.
The rest of Earthquake Glue is almost as good. That GBV album you’ve been meaning to pick up for the last few years but never got around to buying? Make it this one.