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Guided By Voices
Half Smiles of the Decomposed
Matador Records

After spending 21 semi-coherent years making rough-edged, discretely charming anthems to get sloshed and pump your fist to, Guided By Voices Bob Pollard is putting the axe to his band of imbibed merry men. With Half Smiles they finally achieve what they have been hinting towards since their inception: the perfect geek-rock album. The opener "Everybody Thinks I’m a Raincloud" and the uber-hooky "Asia Minor" stand up to Pollard’s best tunes, and the album and career-closer ‘Huffman Prairie Flying Field" leaves us with perhaps the bands most anthemic chorus. This isn’t a party-lovin’, ear-crashing, fuck-the-cops-we-wanna-chug style record nor does it feature those weird throw-away GBV ditties. It’s ultimately a pop album, reflective and thoughtful, and these songs are just that; songs. GBV are survived by 15 albums of drunken rock-pop destruction.