Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Similarly Requested CDs
A Nice Pair, on One Disk - Buy 'Em If You Can
Thomas D. Ryan | New York | 06/01/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Nyeah, nyeah. I got both of these albums on one disk (only available for a short while; now they must be purchased separately), although I doubt that very many people would be particularly envious of this `coup'. Actually, its advantages are questionable, because the two albums combine for a total of 33 (!) tracks, which is overwhelming by anybody's standard and makes it doubly difficult to allow the songs to sink in.
Therein lies the basic premise of Guided By Voices, and the inherent problem with appreciating their music. Sometimes I get the feeling that I spend more time learning to appreciate it than they spend writing and rehearsing it. "Vampire on Titus" (the first 18 songs on my disk) is particularly guilty of this self-indulgence. Its low-fi aesthetic hardly ever lets up, and after five listens, I'm still waiting for the songs to gel into recognizable melodies.
"Propeller" (the second half of my disk, consisting of the remaining 15 tracks) is the superior disk of these two, consisting of a bizarre combination of extraordinary ambition and complete indifference. It opens with a self-reducing anthemic overture that sounds as though it could be inserted into a rock opera of some sort, and then quickly degenerates into the spastic, pointless incoherence of a song called (appropriately) "Particular Damaged." This particular damage is difficult to overcome, but the fragmented melodies of "Metal Mothers" (more `rock-star' fodder) and "14 Cheerleader Coldfront" leave you wondering if you might be missing something.
Typically idiosyncratic arrangements clutter this disk, but the inherent charm (as I see it) of the band's work methods somehow manage to keep me guessing as to their intentions. Are they self-consciously ambitious or do they lack enthusiasm? A song called "Lethargy" displays this dichotomy perfectly, verbalizing the latter, while displaying elements of the former. It's a lot of effort for all of this stuff to sink in, and it does pay off . The question, though, is whether it's worth the effort. Give it time, and like me, you'll swear this is a thoroughly ingenius work of art
A - Tom Ryan"