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Half Smiles of the Decomposed

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iTunes Review

Retiring the name Guided by Voices is merely a technicality. The "band" has always been Robert Pollard and a revolving, shifting cast. He has since continued as a "solo" act and with his "band," Boston Spaceships, both of which would be difficult to tell apart in a blindfold test. In the end, the arrangements may be slightly different, but it always comes back to Pollard's British-inspired vocals, his stream-of-consciousness lyrics, and his knack for a Brit-invasion, new-wave-styled melody. Half Smiles of the Decomposed is the "final" GBV album, but it doesn't play much like a final chapter. It sounds like a mere continuation of everything the band has always accomplished. "Sleep Over Jack" stretches towards post-punk territory with electronic blips and jump-cut vocal edits. "Girls of Wild Strawberries" is the imaginary hit single. Several tunes ("Sons of Apollo," Sing for Your Meat") sail over the four-minute mark. "Window of My World" bends towards Pollard's acoustic side. Pollard remains strong until the end. And then some.

Customer Reviews

Extremely addictive stuff

Guided by Voices can be very unimpressive at first listen. It's understandable that they could never really break into the mainstream; nothing about their songs really grab you if you havent taken the time to really see what they're all about. If you make a little effort though to try and understand what they're trying to do, GBV can easily end up taking over your life. there have been points where the top 25 playlist on my ipod was completely dominated by gbv/pollard songs. It's almost unhealthy. Ironically this was the first GBV album I ever liked. It's definetly a very wierd introductory album to the whole GBV aesthetic, since this collection of songs more than any other has a really nostalgic and dreamy edge to it, almost meloncholy. It's funny Pollard actually manages to avoid sounding like a complete drunken goof on almost all of these songs, which isn't to say I don't completely adore that whole kicker of elves/glad girls side to his other work. Half Smiles just gave me a very different first impression of Pollard as a songwriter and rock personality. But anyway I think this could very well be the best GBV album there is, and if you haven't gotten hooked yet then this could be a really good place to start.

really good

this music is very good, if you just take a few minutes, and listen, you'll understand.

so basically...

robert pollard is a god. a rock god. in a perfect world, everyone would know who GbV is.


Formed: 1985 in Dayton, OH

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Inspired equally by jangle pop and arty post-punk, Guided by Voices created a series of trebly, hissy indie rock records filled with infectiously brief pop songs that fell somewhere between the British Invasion and prog rock. After recording six self-released albums between 1986 and 1992, the Dayton, Ohio-based band attracted a handful of fans within the American indie rock underground. With the 1994 release of Bee Thousand, the group became an unexpected alternative rock sensation, winning positive...
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