Guided by Voices is the sort of band to outdrink, outwrite, and outplay the competition while making rock â€˜nâ€™ roll excess look effortless. Frontman Robert Pollard has proven himself to be one of the most prolific writers in music, even as the members of his band have proven somewhat interchangeable over the years. Letâ€™s Go Eat the Factory, the groupâ€™s first release since its original members reunited, shows that Guided by Voices still has as much frenetic, lo-fi appeal as ever.
Guided by Voices’ songs are notoriously short and stream-of-consciousness, with 4-track recording leaving the tracks even rougher. Of the 21 tracks on Letâ€™s Go Eat the Factory, only two make it past the 4-minute mark, while two also happen to be under a minute long. Fans of Sonic Youth and Sebadoh can appreciate the abrupt, in-your-face nature of most of the groupâ€™s songs.
â€œDoughnut for a Snowman,â€ for instance, has a dreamy, classic R.E.M. vibe, but Guided by Voices isnâ€™t just rehashing the same tone over and over. â€œHow I Met My Motherâ€ is a quick piece of post-punk, and the distortion of â€œWavesâ€ is charming in that it almost sounds hummed vocally.Â There are glimmers of true beauty though. â€œHang Mr. Kiteâ€ is nearly orchestral, and â€œWho Invented the Sunâ€ reveals a whispered vulnerability not often displayed by a frontman who swigs liquor while performing.
Letâ€™s Go Eat the Factory is a punchy piece of indie rock that shows Guided by Voices are back and ready to assume their position as one of the hardest working bands in the world. For fans who think 21 songs just arenâ€™t enough, worry not: Class Clown Spots a UFO will be out later this year. Pollard can certainly drink to that.