Let's Go Eat The Factory
Guided By Voices - Let's Go Eat the Factory
Christmas came early for indie rock fans last year when Robert Pollard announced that after a year plus of reunion touring, the “classic” lineup for Guided By Voices had recorded a new album. And even though we had to wait until January to get our hands on it, I’m sure there more than a few hardcore fans that were as giddy as a kid on Christmas Eve waiting for old Saint Nick to arrive. The results are worth the wait. It’s easily one of the best albums Pollard has released since the classic GBV’s last album together, 1997’s Under the Bushes Under the Stars.
I’ve read descriptions of Let’s Go Eat The Factory that describe it as “every bit a classic GBV record,” and that it harkens back to their Bee Thousand/Alien Lanes days. I think that anyone who describes it like that is getting more caught up in the moment than they are being honest. To me, it sounds like they are picking up where the left off after the classic lineup’s contributions to Mag Earwhig!, with their hints of synthesizers and increased production quality, even by lo-fi standards. The ensuing years Pollard spent developing his craft and improving his songwriting also shows. The songs are generally more developed than they were during the band’s early days, and 30 second song fragments that used to litter their albums are in short supply. Luckily, the hooks are still abundant.
One of my biggest problems with Pollard’s post GBV solo output is that he had outsourced large parts of the creative process. He would basically have his collaborators create music and then he’d put lyrics and melodies over the top of them. Bob called it “delegating” in a recent interview, but I always just kind of viewed it as laziness, and I think the music suffered for it (with some notable exceptions; the albums he did this way with Tobin Sprout and Doug Gillard were every bit as good as their band collaborations). So for me the most welcome thing on this album is the return of Robert Pollard the guitar player. I think that, more so than the return of Toby, Mitch, Kevin and Greg (as well as Pollard’s brother Jim) is what really makes this sound like an old school GBV record.