Guided by Voices
Let's Go Eat the Factory
When Guided by Voices disbanded
in 2004, frontman/guitarist/principal
songwriter Robert Pollard essentially left
little to no hope that the lo-fi pioneers
would ever record or play live again.
Following the release of Half-Smiles
of the Decomposed that year, Pollard
stated, “This feels like the last album for
Guided by Voices. I’ve always said that
when I make a record that I’m totally
satisfied with as befitting a final album, then that will be it. And this is it.”
Fast-forward eight years, and here we are with a new Guided by Voices record. And
what a record it is. With no softening around the edges, the 21-song Let’s Go Eat the
Factory represents the true essence of Guided by Voices: prog/punk/psych rock that
often sounds absolutely spontaneous and chaotic, but still comes off as completely
put together—and done so in a beautiful way that very few bands have been able
to pull off. Guided by Voices makes no attempt to mask its influences—from early
Who to Joy Division and Peter Murphy—but continues to find a way to sound
completely different from any band out there.
Though GBV has seen a number of lineup changes over the years, Let’s Go Eat
the Factory is the first in 15 years to feature the classic lineup of Pollard, Tobin
Sprout (guitar), Mitch Mitchell (guitar), Greg Demos (bass), and Kevin Fennell
(drums)—and it was recorded in their living rooms, basements, and garages. “Laundry
and Lasers” is a tractor beam with its dirty guitars erupting into nasty Brit rock.
“Doughnut for a Snowman,” the third track and first single, sounds like a young
David Bowie swooning over a strange country-pop song at a carnival concert—and
it’s done so nicely. Meanwhile, the rawness and desperation achieved in only 43 seconds
on the superb acoustic ballad “The Room Taking Shape” takes the album in yet
another of its dozen directions, which is par for the Guided by Voices course.
There’s no telling how long this incarnation of the band will last, but it’s a refreshing
treat for long-time fans that this reunion stays true to the approach that won them
their passionately loyal following. —Rich Osweiler
Must-hear track: "Doughnut for a Snowman"