In 2010, the “Classic” Line-up of Guided By Voices: Robert Pollard,
Tobin Sprout, Mitch Mitchell, Kevin Fennell and Greg Demos,
which broke-up in 1996, reunited for Matador 21 Birthday Party.
Shortly after the band did a Reunion Tour,
I live in Hawaii, so I flew to San Francisco to see the band.
Great show, they did of course all the classics.
But I kept thinking through out the show,
“It would be great if they got together to record again.”
Then it was announced the “Classic” line-up would make an album.
Well, that one album became six,
in addition to twenty-three 7” singles and one EP.
“Let’s Go Eat The Factory” is an Excellent Reunion album,
which is a rarity among reunion albums.
For those fans who hopped aboard during the “Do The Collapse” era,
which is the line-up from 1999 to 2004, and never got into their earlier stuff,
may not have the same opinion I have of this album.
The first album I heard from Guided By Voices was “Alien Lanes”,
and I loved the Lo-Fi sound with the Churning Rhythm guitars
with a Psychedelic Garage Noise sound and Bob’s British-like vocals.
“Let’s Go Eat The Factory” is the band touching on things they’ve
done in the past, but without repeating themselves.
Some of my favorite Guided By Voices albums are the ones
that are all over the place, Some Pop/Rock or Acoustic song, just Bob
with a “buzzing one-stringer” or other simple backing,
a weird instrumental or two and full band recordings.
This albums got it all.
Bob shows his skill at writing great pop songs with, “Doughnut For a Snowman”,
“Chocolate Boy”, “Hang Mr.Kite” and “The Unsinkable Fats Domino”.
All of which could have turned up on any of the 1999-2004 line-ups albums
and not be too out of place.
But the band does rock too, songs like, “Laundry and Lasers”, “Either Nelson,
“Cyclone Utilities (Remember Your Birthday)”, “We Won't Apologize For The Human Race”
and “The Head” move the band forward without just repeating old tricks.
The Element that was missing since the band split in 1996, was Tobin Sprout.
On “Let’s Go Eat The Factory” Tobin really shines.
“Spiderfighter” sounds like a noisier 60’s Steve Miller band, then suddenly the
song breaks down to a piano and Tobin melancholy vocals.
Tobin’s Garagey “God Loves Us” is a great rocker that most people would stretch
out to over 3 minutes, but is less than a minute and a half long,
like in the old days.
Bob and Tobin team up for “Imperial Racehorsing”, excellent!
There are weirder moments like “The Things That Never Need” which is a piano and
what sounds like girls talking.
“The Big Hat And Toy Show” could have appeared on an early ep.
Personally this is one of my favorite Reunion albums, if not my favorite.
“It’s so damn hard to choose!”
and probably in my top 10 GBV releases.