Review: Guided By Voices – Motivational Jumpsuit
Published on March 3rd, 2014 | Jonny Abrams
Guided By Voices still sound drunken and ramshackle on Motivational Jumpsuit, their fifth album since 2012 and 20th altogether – but without the great tunes of yore, it just feels sapped of charm.
The reformed “classic era” GBV line-up only sporadically hit the heights of their mid-’90s output on recent LPs Let’s Go Eat the Factory, Class Clown Spots a UFO, The Bears for Lunch and English Little League, but the highlights were sufficiently frequent to make worthwhile ventures of them all.
On Motivational Jumpsuit, however, there’s little in the way of stand-out material. Great song titles still abound – “Writer’s Bloc (Psycho All the Time)”, “Child Activist” and “Go Without Packing”, to name but three – so it’s a shame that Robert Pollard’s undoubted songwriting prowess seems to have deserted him on this occasion.
“A Bird With No Name” has a preposterous, early Ween sort of charm to it, while Tobin Sprout’s Byrds-ier moments are nice enough, but otherwise Pollard’s lyrics in scuzzy rocker “Zero Elasticity” strike as sadly apposite: “I’ve got nothing left to go on, that’s a fact / Zero elasticity, won’t bounce back”.
We can only hope he’s got that one wrong, because Guided By Voices have had enough ups and downs to suggest that they’re not done yet. Sure enough, a 21st album, titled Cool Planet, has already been lined up.
Rocksucker says: Two and a Half Quails out of Five!
Motivational Jumpsuit is out now on Fire Records.
BUY: Motivational Jumpsuit on iTunes or on Amazon.