Music Reviews

Guided By Voices

Universal Truths and Cycles


Forget all the mannered rock critic throwdown.


There. Much simpler. GBV fans standing out in the cold morning of lo-fi abandonment from the last two Voices releases, come on back in to the bar. UTAC spans the gulf between the four-track madness and major label “We need a hit, Bob”-ness that is Robert Pollard and Guided By Voices. Here the solid production adds to the songs, instead of engulfing them. The guitars of Doug Gillard and Nate Farley rumble and thunder, and Pollard’s voice floats above it all, calmly delivering such lines as “My tongue that moves slow/A minute before the evil street” (“Wire Greyhounds”), and making it sound normal and effortless.

The songs here are all worthy additions to the massive GBV canon. “Skin Parade” is hands down the best song of 2002, and “Cheyenne,” with its sing-along chorus, has Top 40 written all over it. “Back to the Lake” rocks hard enough to make all your emo/indie/alternative wussy bands crawl back whimpering to the strip mall that spawned ‘em, proving once and for all that this sort of music is descended from Blue Oyster Cult, not The Raspberries. Universal Truths and Cycles is gonna rock all over your lame ass, and you’re gonna thank GBV for it. Being fortunate enough to witness the reign of Pollard and GBV firsthand is like having season tickets to the Detroit Tigers in 1911, and watching a guy named Ty Cobb play ball. This is Hall of Fame stuff. So buy an f’in’ ticket, why don’t’cha?

Guided By Voices:

Recently on Ink 19...