Guided By Voices

Guided By Voices

Alien Lanes, Limited Edition Multi-colored
  • Album Description

    Guided By Voices, the mascots of antihero rock and four-track hackery, chart another couple afternoons in their basement on Alien Lanes. It's the band's ninth album and second since being unearthed from the rich Ohio clay a year or two ago. So now that lead voice Robert Pollard and buddies have quit their day jobs and late-bloomed into one of today's more successful indie rock institutions, what does the band's insistence on maintaining their signature muddy humming home recordings signify when they could obviously afford better studio-quality sound? Two possibilities. One: In order to continue delivering the stuff they have built a name on, Guided by Voices have descended from stardom to self-parody quicker than any band since the Doors. Or two: Do-it-yourself is not a romanticized economic necessity, but rather a conscious artistic choice--and hence reducible to merely this year's fad. Either way, Alien Lanes finds Guided by Voices in the frustrating position of a new-aesthetic Moses: They can lead us to the low-fi Promised Land but can't enter with us. Or in other words, the band is like a mass-marketed "homemade" cookie: a well-intentioned contradiction that has nevertheless outgrown its usefulness. But for everyone who still loves the music, there's a third possibility: Maybe the tape recorder is neither utility nor gimmick, but rather an irreplaceable piece of the band--even more so than any instrument or musician. That makes Alien Lanes simply a better-distributed chapter in the band's inimitable recast of classic psychedelic rock as sloppy postpunk; another collage with dozens of irresistibly cryptic song snippets shifting speeds and colors and not stopping (except for a disturbing homosexual slur half way through) until the last Beatlesque "all right" twenty-eight songs from go. --Roni Sarig
  • Album Info

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