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Pat Long

Guided By Voices
Universal Truths and Cycles
Matador Records

Ohio's Guided By Voices had been quietly carving out a niche for themselves as a sort of college rock Grateful Dead long before The Strokes started name checking them. Together for 20 years, this is their umpteenth long player and is much, much better than a record made by chronically drunk middle-aged men has any right to be. After a fan-furying tenure recording in posh studios, with 'Universal Truths And Cycles' former school teacher and full-time Beatles fan Robert Pollard and his cohorts have returned to what they do best: making off-kilter mid-fi guitar rock. 'Back To The Lake' is an anthemic stomp, while 'Everywhere With Helicopter' neatly sums up GBV's enduring appeal: they're one of life's most deeply reliable pleasures. Pat Long Rating: 8