Guided by Voices

Earthquake Glue

What if we crapped immediately after we ate? An English muffin and a glass of orange juice. Crap. A bowl of pudding. Crap. An almond. Crap. Fortunately, we save up our digested food and then lay down a giant log about once a day. This pattern is far more rewarding than dropping miniature poos all day.

Robert Pollard has been squeezing out a lot of miniature poos lately, but his can be played in CD players. Pollard is the leader of Guided by Voices, a rock band that sounds like a drunken cage-wrestling match between Pete Townshend and Paul McCartney. Pollard's a lyrical genius, a Budweiser-guzzling chain smoker, and an amazing live performer. His one flaw is that he doesn't edit himself. If fluorescent lighting hits him at the right angle, he needs to record 20 songs. Now, another record has popped out of Mr. Pollard. That record is Earthquake Glue.

This album is not great. The first half is forgettable. Then, around the midway point, "Useless Inventions" and "The Best of Jill Hives" surface with arena-rock hooks, signaling a less murky section. "Apologize in Advance" is a guitar-driven jolt, but it shows up a bit too late at Track 13. After this song ends, it's your cue to go into the next room and cut your toenails, because the last two songs sound like off-off-off-Broadway show tunes performed by a Beatles tribute band.

It used to feel like GBV albums were collections of rock 'n' roll snapshots. If one of those snapshots wasn't very good, it would end quickly and the next song would start. Instead of being one-minute quickies, the songs on Earthquake Glue have been formed into full three-minute pieces, but nothing is gained by it. They're actually less interesting this way.

This band is capable of making the greatest rock record ever, but it isn't doing it. Between all the side projects and collaborations, Bob Pollard's been putting out a lot of so-so stuff. How and why are we supposed to keep up with it all? Someone put a lock on the bathroom door and tell Mr. Pollard to stop crapping out mediocre albums. No more of these little, nutty, GBV poos. The next Guided by Voices record better take nine years to make, stretch 70 feet long, and be dark brown.

 
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