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Aural Pleasure

Guided By Voices: Let’s Go Eat the Factory

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2011 was a tough year for alt-rock nostalgics: R.E.M.'s break-up, Sonic Youth's expected split, even Pavement's reunion tour turned bittersweet on news that there would be no formal reunion or forthcoming release. If you're the type to draw narratives out of these sorts of things, then news of a new Guided by Voices record — their first in eight years and featuring the classic 1993-96 lineup — would seem to signal a turnaround for 2012. Featuring 20-something two-minute songs all sounding like they were recorded on a Nixon-era four–track, Let's Go Eat the Factory seems intentionally crafted to evoke GBV's mid-'90s glory days. The similarities largely end there. Sprawling, idiosyncratic, and frequently frustrating, Factory largely falls flat, the majority of its tracks either don't offer enough that is musically interesting or fail to linger long enough to stick. On the rare occasion the band spends more than 15 minutes writing and recording a song, they more than succeed in rocking like they're bringing '94 back. But these occasional highlights still don't prevent Factory from playing like a collection of B-sides, sort of a ridiculous conclusion considering the band took almost a decade to put it out. Sorry nostalgics, but it's back to waiting for a new Pavement record.

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