Guided By Voices – 'Motivational Jumpsuit' album review

After four new albums in three years, the indie veterans stumble



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Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>2/5

Even though they came to prominence in the ’90s DIY scene, when unbridled access to four-track Portastudios unleashed a wave of lo-fi releases, Guided By Voices were always uniquely prolific. Since reuniting in 2010 after a six-year hiatus, the high-kicking, hard-drinking Ohio veterans have only stepped things up, squashing any talk of a play-the-hits victory lap by firing out five new LPs in three years.

That’s a lot of work for a troupe of severely liver-damaged men in their fifties. And, unfortunately, with ‘Motivational Jumpsuit’, the cracks are beginning to show. British invasion, noise, prog, power-pop and a healthy disdain for traditional song structure: all the elements for another joyously madcap GBV outing are here, but it all comes off rather uninspired.

Over their 20-plus albums there’s been the odd misfire, but this time around it really feels like they’re just going through the motions. The rawk-driven tracks feel plodding and repetitive, while the poppier moments (courtesy of guitarist Tobin Sprout) are sugary and lightweight.
There are a few hidden gems. ‘Record Level Love’ is a gorgeous, sunny-eyed slice of jangle rock, while ‘Vote for Me Dummy’ sets frontman Robert Pollard’s caustic take on politics to a soaring melody. But, scant highlights aside, ‘Motivational Jumpsuit’ is the sound of a band in need of a good sit down.

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Listen to Guided By Voices on Spotify

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Watch the video for 'Littlest League Possible'

Users say

dan bazan
dan bazan

Probably the most ill-informed music review I've read in a long time. I'm surprised the writer took time off from listening to Barry Manilow to even listen to this amazingly great album. Oh, I get it. The writer didn't even listen to it. Just head straight for the computer and pinched out this ridiculous loaf.

marco polo
marco polo

Heh that's a fanmade video btw. You liked Blazing Gentlemen I see, maybe you should give Motivational Jumpsuit a few more listens - Bob's albums are usually growers.

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