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Oor nr. 12
By Erik van den Berg

Guided By Voices
Universal Truths and Cycles
Matador Records

Thanks to Niels Spinhoven for translating from Dutch to English!

Fourteen official studio albums Robbert Pollard and his band Guided By Voices released already, besides (literally) numerous solo records, singles, EPs and oddly named side projects. Not even to mention the 4 CD-box Suitcase: Failed Experiments and Trashed Aircraft, with 100 (!) never before released songs. Will that damned GBV-source never ever run dry? Ok, for a short while it sort of did, last year to be specific: Isolation Drills probably suffered from Pollard divorce and it was the weakest GBV record in years.

But now, one year later, the former teacher (44) is back in shape. Even better, UTAC is one of the most inspired records in the entire GBV catalogue. Those who, in 2002, are trying to find traces from the lo-fi (starting) period of the band will fail; the beautiful popsongs on UTAC are not only complete from start to finish and not only does the whole record sound magnificent, Pollard makes use of strings and back-up vocals in such a way the result may well be called symphonic.  

But do not fear, certainly half of the songs (for example Cheyenne, Eureka Signs and the single Everywhere With Helicopter) could effortlessly be filed under Great Popsongs of the 21st Century.