» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Guided By Voices
Universal Truths and Cycles
Matador Records

Rating: 7.5/10 ?

October 1, 2004
For years Robert Pollard and his once ever-changing band, Guided By Voices, were known for creating a variety of amazing low-fi pop morsels that wore the influences of The Beatles, Bowie, and The Who on their sleeves. But by 1997's Mag Earwhig! we saw a band in progress acquire members of Ohio glam rockers, Cobra Verde, to solidify a lineup that would help them build a much larger sound. Earwig's "I Am A Tree" was written by ex-Cobra Verde Doug Gillard and seemed to foreshadow the bulldog skin that Guided By Voices would eventually settle into. With most of his influence exiled to coach on 2001's Isolation Drills, and now 2002's Universal Truths and Cycles we see Pollard focusing on and getting closer to realizing his dream of becoming Roger Daltrey.

The proof in the pudding is the excellent "Christian Animation Torch Carriers" and the Who commemorative stamps that are slapped on "Eureka Signs," and "Wings of Thorn." But don't call it a revival, because they've been here for years, and as classically rock trained as Guided By Voices are, songs like "Everywhere with Helicopter" - with its Nirvana-like riffs - reveals the inner punk that has been infiltrating their records since day one. And although the standout "Back to the Lake" is Guided By Voices by numbers, it's still an amazing anthem that is a shoe-in for a Guided By Voices greatest hits record. The prolific Pollard has always been an incredible lyricist and songwriter, but Guided By Voices is at a point where the revolving door of co-writers is closed, leaving the band walking a fine line between being coherent and stagnant.

Although Universal Truths and Cycles is a solid album, hopefully this is the last time Guided By Voices makes a record this familiar.

Reviewed by Lyle Hodges
An infrequent LAS contributor based in New York City.

See other reviews by Lyle Hodges



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