Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Guided by Voices

  • Bee Thousand [Scat, 1994] B-
  • Alien Lanes [Matador, 1995] Dud

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Bee Thousand [Scat, 1994]
On most of these 20-tracks-in-36-minutes, the tunes emerge if you stick around, but they're undercut by multiple irritants. The lyrics are deliberately obscure, the structures deliberately foreshortened, the vocals a record collector's Anglophilia-in-the-shower; the rec-room production is so inconsistent you keep losing your bearings, as befits resident art-rock fan Robert Pollard's boast (which echoes Lou Barlow's, what a coincidence) that some recordings aren't just first takes but first plays, of songs he'd dreamed up since the last time the band came over. In short, this is pop for perverts--pomo smarty-pants too prudish and/or alienated to take their pleasure without a touch of pain to remind them that they're still alive. B-

Alien Lanes [Matador, 1995] Dud