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Aidin Vaziri

Guided By Voices
Universal Truths and Cycles
Matador Records

Everybody knows they should be right up there with the Pixies and Pavement. But seeing as how Guided by Voices are still slogging away in crammed studios and beer-stained dives, no one is willing to decree them certifiable underground rock gods just yet. When the time comes, however, here is more evidence for frontman-mastermind Robert Pollard's case. Universal Truths and Cycles is at points frustrating, gorgeous, catatonic, uplifting, uncertain, and, yes, even translucent. It feels like the entire history of psych-punk--with rich references to the Beatles, XTC, the Modern Lovers, Wire, and Three O'Clock--distilled into 46 of the most invigorating minutes of your life. Glorious songs like "Skin Parade" and "Wings of Thorn" not only see the band on form after a brief, perhaps misjudged, dalliance with the mainstream, but sounding like they are ready to rewrite the entire history of rock & roll. Staggering. --Aidin Vaziri