Not the best Guided by Voices album (that'd be Alien Lanes), not the best way to leap into the world according to Robert Pollard (Human Amusements at Hourly Rates should be your first port of call), and not even the best way to experience the glorious shambles of GBV mk 1(order the DVD of Watch Me Jumpstart- it's amazing).
So why buy? Well... there's something about it. Maybe it's the way it's the last hurrah of a great band nobody had ever heard of, a parallel universe of greatest hits cooked up by a bunch of thirty somethings with boring jobs and kids and mortgages and stuff. Maybe it's because it's a triumph of rock and roll over real life, great tunes over crappy production.
Or alternatively, it features the best half of tunes Pollard ever wrote- Smothered in Hugs, Tractor Rape Chain and Gold Star for Robot Boy dazzle and charm. And even if it sags a bit at the end, I am a Scientist is startlingly great, perhaps as close as Pollard ever got to offering an explanation for his lifelong obsession with rock n' roll and being in a band: 'the hole I dig is bottomless / but nothing else can set me free'.
So maybe not the best, but the most loveable album of the most loveable band going.