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Nigel Williamson

Guided By Voices
Universal Truths and Cycles
Matador Records

Dazzling diversity from self-confessed Ohio rock geeks

Back on Matador following the demise of Creation, Universal Truths and Cycles finds Ohio’s GBV inventively mixing grunge-like rockers (“Skin Parade”), fragments of lo-fi wistfulness (“Wings of Thorn”), melodic power-pop (“Cheyenne”), Oasis-style bombast (“Eureka Signs”) and narco drone-rock (“Car Language”) with such un-self-conscious aplomb that you don’t ever see the joints. Larger-than-life frontman Robert Pollard won’t like the suggestion at all, but after headlining an American tour with The Strokes and getting name-checked as an inspiration by a new generation of bands such as Jimmy Eat World, GBV are in danger of becoming the elder statesmen of American alternative rock. And did the Ramones ever manage an album of 19 tracks that was all done and dusted inside 45 minutes? Really rather magnificent, in its way.