A-ha, another dirty guitar offering from a bunch of twentysomethings that we can listen to when we have finished with The Hives, The Vines, The White Stripes and The Libertines? No, Guided By Voices have been around since 1986 and have at least eight studio albums to their credit, although they did tour with The Strokes last year.
Nevertheless, Earthquake Glue didn’t blow minds, although it does have some redeeming features. Many of the songs are ideal amateur BMX video soundtracks, which is a back handed compliment. There is some nice jingly jangly guitar and Robert Pollard’s voice, which at times resembles that of many early 1990s English acts, is constant and perfectly matches the lo-fi quality of the recording.
The album clocks in at 45 minutes and holds 15 tracks. For the less mathematically minded, this equates to roughly three minutes a song. Throw in a couple at over four and a half minutes, and the average drops to nearer two minutes. This leaves no time for guitar solos. The traditional verse, chorus, verse, chorus set-up is dropped, which does make for some interesting listening. It will be listening, mind, because you wont be singing along to many of these songs, or find yourself whistling them as you walk down the street.
The opening track, My Kind Of Soldier, opens with a punchy start and is one of the likely singles. My Son, My Secretary and My Country opens with a brass band before dropping into a Pink Floyd acoustic guitar and some niceimagery on the lyrics front.
As you can see, one of the things Guided By Voices do have going for them is some great song titles. Others include I’ll Replace You With Machines, Useless Inventions, A Trophy Mule In Particular and Of Mites And Men.
In retrospect this is a strange one. Existing fans of the band will no doubt lap it up, as will many fans of the lo-fi genre, but I can’t help feeling that Guided By Voices are going to remain a satellite band on the verge of mainstream British success. This is not necessarily a bad thing because they are playing what they want to play. More joy to them.