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Universal Truths and Cycles Import

4.2 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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Everybody knows they should be right up there with the Pixies and Pavement. But seeing as how Guided by Voices are still slogging away in crammed studios and beer-stained dives, no one is willing to decree them certifiable underground rock gods just yet. When the time comes, however, here is more evidence for frontman-mastermind Robert Pollard's case. Universal Truths and Cycles is at points frustrating, gorgeous, catatonic, uplifting, uncertain, and, yes, even translucent. It feels like the entire history of psych-punk--with rich references to the Beatles, XTC, the Modern Lovers, Wire, and Three O'Clock--distilled into 46 of the most invigorating minutes of your life. Glorious songs like "Skin Parade" and "Wings of Thorn" not only see the band on form after a brief, perhaps misjudged, dalliance with the mainstream, but sounding like they are ready to rewrite the entire history of rock & roll. Staggering. --Aidin Vaziri
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 18, 2002)
  • Original Release Date: 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Unknown
  • ASIN: B000066JFA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #157,095 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
If you want to rock like you haven't rocked since 1973, GBV is for you. If you like your songs short, not-so-sweet, and to the point, GBV is for you. If you enjoy concerts where the band drink like fish and the lead singer poses like a strange Roger Daltrey/Robert Plant/Bon Scott hybrid, GBV is for you.
With lots of GBV stuff, it's hit-or-miss, but not here. From the opening rocker "Wire Greyhounds" to the closing sing-along "Father Sgt. Christmas Card," Robert Pollard and the crew deliver the goods in prime 1960s British Invasion fashion. Other standouts (and already GBV classics) include "Christian Animation Torch Carriers," "Cheyenne," "Eureka Signs," and "The Ids are Alright."
If you are a fan of: the Kinks, the Who, the Beatles, the Hollies, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, the Zombies, etc.: BUY THIS ALBUM! You won't be sorry. And while you're at it, buy the earlier GBV stuff, too. Just throw that money around. Pollard and Co. will toast you with a Miller Lite at their next sloshy show.
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Format: Audio CD
Critics have been writing that this album is a "return" to the greatness of Alien Lanes, Bee Thousand era GbV but that would be an oversimplification....Because this collection of songs moves the band forward in many different ways.Yes, there's the short songs peppered through this album ala Alien Lanes...But Pollard has totally mastered the art of writing a short yet complete song like Wire Greyhounds :36 the opener on Universal Truths.Yes there are many of these brief mid-fi jewels(Zap,Love 1,The Weeping Bogeyman,Factory of Raw Essentials,The Ids are Alright)and they are the glue that flows this album so perfectly.But what I truly love about this album are the prog rock songs.These four songs are standouts: Christian Animation Torch Carriers,Storm Vibrations,Pretty Bombs & Car Language.Christian Animation Torch Carriers & Storm Vibrations are beautiful songs that build with soaring & crashing melodies.Pretty Bombs uses brilliantly twisted instrumentation from a string quartet to push the envelope of experimentation.Car Language also pushes the envelope with nifty little sound effects....guitars beeping like car horns but not in an obvious way, kind of swirling through the song for you discover for yourself..Again GENIUS.Yes and there are the singles those catchy songs that Pollard writes so effortlessly.There are 3 standouts, Cheyenne(pristine Pollard vocals & phrasing)Everywhere with Helicopter(infectious rocker)Back to the Lake(another beauty)The remaining songs a little harder to catagorize but they are just as good, Skin Parade( a bit of a stomper),The Whoish Wings of Thorn,Eureka Signs, From a Voice Plantation...and the perfect album closer,Father Sargent Christmas Card.This self produced album has it all;it brings all together in form, flow & production & it pushes the artistic envelope in all the right places.Buy it now!
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Format: Audio CD
Bob has a way of taking all that has been done before and filtering it down to the best elements. This album is diverse and glorious. One of GBV's most consistent offerings, it also offers flashes of the brilliance we all love from Bee Thousand, Alien Lanes, Under the Bushes, etc. A real plus here is the spontaneity of mid-90's GBV coupled with a reasonable level of fidelity. Wire Greyhounds, Skin Parade, Storm Vibrations, Everywhere With Helicopter, Eureka Signs, and Cheyenne are all instantly enjoyable. Most of the others will creep up on you the way Bee Thousand did after 7 or 8 listens. Bob is without question the greatest songwriter of the last decade assuming "great" is defined by the sheer number of outstanding rock songs written over the period. Long live Bob Pollard.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Once again, I am forced to wonder not only how Robert Pollard writes so many songs, but how most of them are really really good. A friend of mine who is also a huge GbV fan likens Bob to Elvis Costello, in that "he's just damn good, and that's all there is to it". I listened to this CD several times before reading any reviews. My initial reaction was that it reminded me of earlier GbV albums. With each successive listen it became apparent that this record is truly special. Every song is solid. I know Bob has been accused of "filler", but he has his reasons (I like to think he's tweaking the people who are apt to complain about it). Anyway, there's nothing like that going on here. This is good, solid rock music, fresh yet familiar. It's top drawer both lyrically and musically. Again, Bob has masterfully chosen his lineup, most notably Doug Gillard, a fantastic guitarist and consummate professional. This album is further proof that the focus of Robert Pollard's songwriting remains pure, his vision distinct. I think GbV fans will recognize that this album is a standout, distilling everything you like about the band in 19 generous tracks. New listeners should pick up Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes first, although I'm tempted to recommend this as an entry point because it seems to embody the essence of classic GbV quite well. My recommendation is to buy everything you can get your hands on. Oh, and for the record, Michael Jackson is the king (for those of you who need a king).
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