There are few artists whose output is consistent, especially consistently of high quality and true to that artist.
Anybody could tell you the name of these artists — The Beatles, David Bowie, and U2 (to some) are likely candidates for this category of “consistently good.” Dayton-based Guided By Voices is a part of this elite.
“Let’s Go Eat the Factory” is indisputably characteristic of GBV, even maintaining all of its lo-fi nuances among mere tinctures of modern production.
“Let’s Go Eat the Factory” might or might not be the product of the reunion of GBV’s original lineup (they had not played together since 1996.) Rightly so, if it is. The album is as compelling and energetic as anything it released in the early ‘90s. Its swift attitude is reminiscent of when GBV was its most solid.
The album maintains GBV’s sense of drama and its knack for juxtaposing contrary sounds. At any moment, the album will go from bleak, piano-engrossed to something of more strength — such is the transition from “Hang Mr. Kite” to “God Loves Us.” The record then flips again for the lullaby-esque “Who Invented the Sun” that follows. Such is the nature of “Let’s Go Eat the Factory.”
In the fashion of maintaining its earlier sound, GBV still produces distinguishable tracks on this record, even with the brief quality of its songs. “Doughnut for a Snowman” has the poppy charm of earlier days.
The album is, for the most part, a record that pays homage to the band’s earlier records. There are moments where it does not clearly keep up with the lo-fi standard it synthesized at an earlier time.
GBV producing electronic sounds seems peculiar to say the least, but GBV’s recent release is a tasteful reunion of not only the band, but also the band with its prior drive.