Guided By Voices
Universal Truths and Cycles (Matador Records)
By: Alex Steininger
There are a few things you can always expect from a Guided By Voices album. One is a lot of songs; more than your average full-length. That is because front man Bob Pollard is quite prolific and seems to never stop writing.
Next, you can always expect some solid rock 'n' roll, whether it is bare bones and lo-fi, frivolous, carefree, and fun, or powerfully moving. Then you have the songs that are all those and more.
What you get from Universal Truths and Cycles is nineteen songs that bounce around from short little rock ditties ("Love 1"), sparkling pop songs with bite ("Universal Truths and Cycles"), and punk-fueled rockers ("Everywhere With Helicopter").
"Factory Of Raw Essentials" is a tangled web of pretty acoustic guitar, rough vocals, and confusing lyrics that either turn you off or make you think long and hard about what Pollard is trying to say.
Bouncy pop plays a big part in this album, as "Pretty Bombs" demonstrates. A rocking, melodic pop song you can nod your head and stomp your feet with.
Pollard and company have done it again, released a record that is all over the map, make it sound similar, have fun, and deliver a lot of songs in a decent amount of time (forty-eight minutes). For those that think Pollard has long run his course, Universal Truths and Cycles will prove you otherwise. I'll give it a B+.