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The Guardian
Friday August 20 2004
By David Peschek

Guided By Voices
Half Smiles of the Decomposed
Matador Records

There's prolific, and then there's Guided By Voices. From Dayton, Ohio, and not so much a band as a cult, GBV have released, possibly, about 20 albums. This is to be their final release - though lest fans should panic, singer Robert Pollard also has a solo album out. Sole constant in the band's line-up, Pollard has, thankfully, largely shaken the tendency to write songs that consist of blink-and-you'll-miss-it snatches of brilliant melody that end as soon as they've begun, which made earlier records great listening for ADD sufferers, but otherwise frustrating. Half Smiles is US indie rock at its best. It has lyrical quirk wrapped in garagey rattle - though lovely stand-out Window of My World is uncharacteristically languid. Pollard has a limited but indefatigable gift for melody, which lifts conservative music out of the strictly ordinary. If he really wanted to fox the faithful, however, he'd plan a more radical career move.