Universal Truths and Cycles

Universal Truths and Cycles

5.0 3
by Guided by Voices
     
 

It's often been said that you can't go home again, but Robert Pollard and company go a long way toward dispelling that universal truth on this bracingly diverse collection of dissonant pop, which should have visions of GBV classics like Bee Thousand dancing in fans' heads. The spry songs are pepperedSee more details below

Overview

It's often been said that you can't go home again, but Robert Pollard and company go a long way toward dispelling that universal truth on this bracingly diverse collection of dissonant pop, which should have visions of GBV classics like Bee Thousand dancing in fans' heads. The spry songs are peppered with hairpin turns that trail all the sonic ephemera that was absent on their last couple of discs. For example, "Skin Parade" veers from lounge ballad to careening rocker in the span of just a couple of verses. There's plenty of stylistic shape-shifting going on here, from the dour acoustic meandering of "Weeping Bogeyman" to the full-on arena-rock attack of "Chinese Animation Torch Carriers," powered by Doug Gillard's arcing guitar solos. Considerably less preoccupied with making sense, Pollard once again feels free to sprinkle in random bits of whimsy, such as the 30-second "Wire Greyhounds," as well as dribs and drabs of cello, piano, and ambient sound. On a similar note, "Everywhere with Helicopter" will have you singing along with its impossibly catchy chorus even as you're wondering what the heck is actually coming out of your mouth -- and that's a cycle that certainly bears repeating.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
After leaving the comfy indie confines of Matador Records for the corporate sponsorship of bigger indie TVT Records, Robert Pollard and his partners in Guided by Voices abandoned the sloppy production that had long been their hallmark and starting playing on the same field as the big boys, which offended purists but also resulted in one of the band's best albums, 2001's Isolation Drills, which boasted a clean but potent production by Rob Schnapf. In 2002, Guided by Voices and TVT parted ways, and GBV's return to Matador, Universal Truths and Cycles, sounds like a case of two steps forward, one step back. Produced by the band with Todd Tobias in their humble home state of Ohio, Universal Truths and Cycles lacks the high sheen of Do the Collapse and Isolation Drills, but it also reveals a much sharper focus and precise musical attack than anything this band released prior to Mag Earwhig!, and if the production has a rougher surface, Pollard's ambition has certainly grown, with a tighter sound, more details, and even a well-placed string section on a few cuts. However, Universal Truths and Cycles shows the band has lost touch with the most important thing outside producers brought to their TVT albums -- someone to help pick, choose, and sequence Robert Pollard's over-abundance of songs. While Pollard has, as usual, come up with a few great tunes here (most notably "Cheyenne," "Everywhere With Helicopter," and "Eureka Signs"), this album lacks the thematic coherence and unified impact of Isolation Drills. Universal Truths and Cycles proves that Robert Pollard and Guided by Voices have come a long, long way since Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes, but it also suggests the old high school football star needs a good coach to play at the top of his game.
Rolling Stone Online - Rob O'Connor
GBV are self-produced once again and simultaneously looser and sharper as a result.

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Product Details

Release Date:
06/18/2002
Label:
Matador Records
UPC:
0744861054726
catalogNumber:
10547

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