Guided By Voices: Let's Go Eat the Factory  

Fire/Guided By Voices

Though its members have come and gone through the years (with the exception of anchor Robert Pollard), Guided by Voices' career can be divided into two segments. There was the early stuff: all fuzzed out, a big, beautiful mess. Then there was the later stuff: polished power-pop that felt like a group going through the motions. The band's first album since its 2004 "breakup," Factory marks a restoration of GBV's first physical incarnation and a return to the lo-fi sound of classic albums such as Alien Lanes. Factory feels very much like a deliberate attempt to recapture the magic, and it mostly works. Guitarist Tobin Sprout steals Factory's show with scrappy bursts of punk energy ("God Loves Us") and uncharacteristically expansive jams ("Spiderfighter") that differ from anything in the group's past. The requisite throwaway tracks remain - GBV has never been good at self-editing - but Factory is a welcome return for these indie rock champions. (3 out of 5 stars)


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