Guided By Voices are an indie institution, and one of the most prolific bands to come out of the American indie underground. Whilst they never quite `made it', they became a highly visible example of how one could exist quite comfortably under the radar and still earn the respect of their peers.
To call this a `greatest hits' album would be an error as they didn't have any, but that overused term "Smash hits in an alternative universe" seems almost designed to apply to Guided By Voices. By not having to worry about following up hit singles and albums, Robert Pollard was able to write the songs that he wanted to hear, free from outside influences. Every song bursts with hooks and melodies, and almost all of them are over before they've begun!
Guided By Voices don't mess around, and when a song is done, it's DONE!!! `Hit!' lasts about 34 seconds and manages to have three separate parts. Once again, to use an over-familiar expression, most Guided By Voices songs have more ideas in them than many lesser band's entire albums.
The problem with all this is that it's quite a daunting collection, with an awful lot of songs to get through, and Robert Pollard's approach to recording has come to define `lo-fi', and the songs are full of mistakes, audio drop outs, tape hiss and other things that could shock the casual listener, used to hearing pristine and polished audio creations. However, there is something more charming and affecting in these rough hewn gems. This collection (frustratingly not chronologically ordered) is a good overview of their history and leaves the listener begging for more. And thankfully, there is a whole lot more to hear...