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The Daily Californian
By Rich Brunnell
Guided By Voices
Arena rock is a genre routinely spat upon by indie kids nationwide, in willful defiance of the Boston and Journey twofers that so regularly plagued the classic rock stations their parents refused to stop listening to during their upbringing. Having "Any Way You Want It" stuck in your head isn't exactly the most pleasurable experience in the universe, unless of course you happen to be watching "Caddyshack."
Never mind that Guided By Voices indie icon Robert Pollard basically qualifies as an arena superstar who just happened to walk down the wrong alley one day on his road to stardom and ended up on Matador Records. Starting off as music's foremost peddler of elusively titled thirty-second half-songs, by the time of 1999's glossy, Ric Ocasek-produced Do The Collapse, it was clear that he had a larger audience in mind.
Earthquake Glue, Pollard's latest, basically continues this trend to humbly satisfying effect, featuring 15 songs that consistently charge forth on waves of crunching guitars and soaring melodies, admittedly without offering much in the way of variation or ambition, but that doesn't seem to be the aim of the music in the first place, so it's a rather easy flaw to overlook.
"My Kind Of Soldier" is the closest thing to a standout, probably because it comes before all of the other songs, but "The Best Of Jill Hives" and "Dead Cloud" are fine pieces of songwriting as well, the latter in particular being particularly herky-jerky and offbeat especially considering how polished Pollard's songwriting has become as of lately.
Guided By Voices have proven themselves time and time again to be total masters of delivering perfectly enjoyable and credible albums that are unfortunately absolutely impossible to remember no matter how many times one listens to them. This isn't to deny the quality of the music, however, and Earthquake Glue remains a satisfying addition to their prolific indie legacy.