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Issue #7 August 2003
Amber Cowan

Thanks to Breck Rowell

Guided By Voices
Earthquake Glue
Matador Records

For the uninitiated, locking into Guided by Voices' 20-year groove of acid-frazzled psyche-pop can seem as daunting as ploughing through The Bible - worthy, and possibly self-improving, but hardly an instant gratification experience. Some notable exceptions aside, much of their back catalogue has been pretty interchangable, at least until the sunshine pop perfection of 2OOl's Isolation Drills. Earthquake Glue (their 14th LP) continues in a similarly accessible vein: all cranium-pleasuring, high-IQ frequencies, and prog filtered through the prism of psychedelia. Robert Pollard's lyrical hieroglyphics are as oblique as always "Happy birthday Mr Sink/Throw your flowers in the river and drink", he warbles on 'My Son, My Secretary and My Country'), but for all his disappearance down lyrical rabbit holes, the tunesome 'Useless Inventions' could make tectonic plates dance, while 'Secret Star' nudges astral pop perfection.