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More By Guided By Voices

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Earthquake Glue


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Guided By Voices ( http://robertpollard.net/ @GBVTweets )

Half Smiles Of The Decomposed
Last Gang ( http://www.lastgangrecords.com/ @LastGangEnt )
It’s been said so often in the last 20 years that it might as well be a rock press mantra: “The newest record by Guided By Voices; and their best to date.� It’s a great track record to maintain, especially given the fickle nature of the rock press, however with that said it’s surprising how average Half Smiles Of The Decomposed is. What has always made Guided By Voices’ records good is that Robert Pollard has always figured a way to add another level of intrigue to his songwriting while never turning away from his audience or at the sacrifice of said songwriting. Under that line of reasoning, while Half Smiles Of The Decomposed is still a good record, one can’t help feeling that Pollard is running through the motions. Half Smiles feels like Earthquake Glue part 2 in both sound and style to the point that they could have been recorded in the same sessions. Songwriting hasn’t improved (though that would be a difficult feat) as much as it has plateau-ed; Pollard’s muse has been an ever evolving and growing one in the past, but it seems to have stalled on Half Smiles “Girls Of Wild Strawberries�, “Sleepover Jack� and “The Closets of Henry� are all fantastic songs but add noting to (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) the legacy of Guided By Voices. It has been announced that Half Smiles will be the last Guided By Voices record which, in the context of the rest of the group’s catalogue, is a bit of a let down. After such a stellar run, it’s hard to believe that GBV will end as most independent bands of lesser caliber have: with a whimper rather than a bang.

By Bill Adams
Sep 29, 2004

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