Music Reviews
Earthquake Glue

Guided By Voices Earthquake Glue

(Matador) Rating - 8/10

Like a lost puppy returned to its original owner, the idea of Guided By Voices being signed to Matador is still a heartwarming thought even though it's been close to two years since they remarried. Last year's Universal Truths And Cycles was a worthy comeback, though it paled in comparison to its major label predecessor, Isolation Drills (which unfortunately did not see proper light of day in the UK). So, it's nice to see GBV return back to form (though can that mean much to a band who releases an album every year?) on Earthquake Glue.

Bob Pollard, as always, manages to pull a mere fifteen tracks out from his sleeve, all filled with wonderment and arena ready riffage. And while they aren't consistently the best collection of songs he has offered (that being arguably either Bee Thousand or Alien Lanes, you decide), the selection is a stellar group to choose from.

My Kind Of Soldier kicks off the album with a mighty swagger, showcasing the constant comparisons to The Who. Possibly one of their most hearty tracks of recent years, it's a song that hits every criteria for becoming a true GBV anthem. Sample-heavy I'll Replace You With Machines keeps the pace going with a playful enthusiasm and a futuristic spark that is rarely utilized by the band.

Useless Inventions attacks with a ferocious thunder that never disappears. Driven by a thumping rhythm section and a sensible chorus, Pollard doesn't hold back. And The Best Of Jill Hives just goes to show how brilliant Pollard is at crafting a good single. The album's first single, it ranks with I Am A Scientist and My Valuable Hunting Knife as one of their best.

As solid as Earthquake Glue is, everything's not completely kosher. Dead Cloud sees the band experimenting with choppy math rock guitar riffs. As attractive as it may seem on paper, it feels more like a Shellac composition than anything else and disturbs the album's balance. Dirty Water, as well, messes with the stride, using prog-friendly wah guitars that do little to enhance the listening experience.

Overall, it's another great GBV album that continues to spotlight Pollard's staggering work of genius. Whether the band will ever be recognized by the mainstream as the legends they are - which likely won't happen in their career - Pollard is easily the most prolific and possibly the best songwriter of my generation, which is good enough to satisfy me.