Guided by Voices, Do the Collapse (TVT)

guidedbyvoices-dothecollapse[This piece appeared on Bombast-xxx.]

Okay, so this isn’t the guided by voices that gave us alien lanes or under the bushes, under the stars. I can understand how fans of those two albums could dismiss the ‘new’ guided by voices. It bears little resemblance to the GBV of ‘watch me jumpstart.’ But it bears significant resemblance to a great pop record.

In fact, the less it sounds like old GBV, the better. What I mean is: the tunes here that most closely resemble old GBV.. aren’t that great. Witness ‘Dragons Awake’ and ‘Much Better, Mr Buckles.’ Tunes that, on alien lanes, I might not have feelings about either way because they would have lasted only 30 seconds. Here, in full 3 minute glory, the missteps sound like pratfalls. I digress…

I think there are something like 3 guitar players in this band now which is generally 2 too many. But the band keeps the sound in check. It’s guitar pop without the wall of sound. Ric Ocasek may have finally redeemed himself for the first Weezer record. The occasional synth and electronics bring a nice futuristic atmosphere to the songs.

‘Teenage FBI,’ ‘Surgical Focus,’ ‘Things That I Will Keep,’ ‘An Unmarketed Product’ and even ‘Hold On Hope’ are great pop songs that transcend the indie-rock territorial pissings and help you appreciate, even just a little, that guided by voices are still around, if in this new form.