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Rockpile
By Austin Ray

Guided By Voices
Half Smiles of the Decomposed
Matador Records


Grandpa Pollard, say it ainít so! Where are we now going to turn for a prolific outpouring of insanely titled, uniquely lo-fi songs that are sometimes poppy, sometimes silly, but often times just plain great? A tear must be shed, a cold one poured out for this album, as it lives up to its unenviable position as the last chapter in a storied legacy. Highlights, you say? Well, check out the way the bass line and acoustic guitar intermingle on "Sleep Over Jack." Or the way "Window of My World," in all its repetitive and simplistic glory will be stuck in your head after just one listen. How about the way these songs just feel good together, displaying a real cohesiveness? Maybe itís just the fact that this is the last album by GBV, but there seems to be a smiling-through-the tears melancholy tone hanging over the other wise cheerful songs here. Half Smiles of the Decomposed is not the strongest Guided by Voice album. No, itís not genius, but itís a nice way to close things out. Hereís looking forward to an intense and drunken farewell tour. Thanks for the good times, Bob.