Album review: Guided By Voices - Motivational Jumpsuit
PUBLISHED: 11:30 05 March 2014
More tape-deck recordings and song scraps obscure a smattering of minor gems from the Ohio veterans.
Now into their fourth decade as a band if you include the noughties’ hiatus, GBV are nothing if not hardy survivors of the cult rock scene.
With umpteen songs in their ouvre, not to mention the side projects, the band’s deliberately lo-fi approach hasn’t been for everyone.
Surprise surprise, nothing’s really changed here. The Littlest League is the poppiest nugget and kicks off the LP with its Weezer-like college rock guitar and a slacker’s gift for irony.
Indeed, MJ offers a platter of garage rock riffing (Planet Score), driving ditties (Difficult Outburst And Breakthrough) and jagged guitar (Bulletin Borders) which can be a lot of fun.
But this fifth record in three years from the band, led by restless Rob Pollard, rattles through 20 tracks in 38 minutes and is littered with what many will think of as half-formed or half-written songs, fading out at speed as if they’ve lost interest even in themselves – Save The Company and Go Without Packing both exit stage left without apology.
While the irony of Writers Bloc (Psycho All The Time) won’t be lost on anyone even vaguely familiar with the band’s prodigious output, there’s a lot of chaff to sift through.
Other highlights? Jupiter Spin’s psychedlic swirls and multi-tracked vocal bears more than a passing resemblance at points to The Beatles’ Tomorrow Never Knows, and the shimmering guitar and fuzzed-up Beach Boys harmonies of Record Level Love is head and shoulders above simply by feeling like it should end at just 1:16.
Zero Elasticity – the lyrics containing the album’s title – is worth seeking out too amid the mumbles and half-thoughts.
There’s another album in the diary already for 2014. If GBV can build on this, it could be a career highlight.
Rating: 3/5 stars