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Universal Truths And Cycles

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Audio CD (17 Jun. 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Matador
  • ASIN: B000066JFA
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 188,090 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

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Amazon.co.uk

Universal Truths and Cycles is in some places frustrating, gorgeous, catatonic, uplifting, uncertain and, yes, even translucent. It feels like the entire history of psych-punk--with rich references to the Beatles, XTC, The Modern Lovers, Wire, and Three O'Clock--distilled into 46 of the most invigorating minutes of your life. Everybody knows they should be right up there with the Pixies and Pavement. But seeing as how Guided By Voices are still slogging away in crammed studios and beer-stained dives, no one is willing to decree them certifiable underground rock gods just yet. When the time comes, however, here is more evidence for frontman-mastermind Robert Pollard's case. Glorious songs like "Skin Parade" and "Wings of Thorn" not only see the band on form after a brief, perhaps misjudged, dalliance with the mainstream, but sounding like it is ready to rewrite the entire history of rock 'n' roll. Staggering. --Aidin Vaziri

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I love this album. I love this band. Why aren't they massive? I don't know. But I do know that anyone whose life has ever been enhanced by the melodic guitars of The Beatles and Big Star, the rock-outs of The Who and Blue Oyster Cult and the whimsical widdlings of early Yes and Genesis would find much to love in the world of GBV. Above and beyond fashion, Rob Pollard and co. have been churning out two (sometimes stretching to four!) minute nuggets of sheer energy and invention for years. Pollard's voice remains their greatest asset, an instrument of rough grace and raw charm, allied to a songwriting talent which shames that of the more successful and styled-out rock groups around right now. Get your credit card out, this is perfection.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 49 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars please keep rocking, bob 15 Oct. 2002
By Sam Bloom - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
If you want to rock like you haven't rocked since 1973, GBV is for you. If you like your songs short, not-so-sweet, and to the point, GBV is for you. If you enjoy concerts where the band drink like fish and the lead singer poses like a strange Roger Daltrey/Robert Plant/Bon Scott hybrid, GBV is for you.
With lots of GBV stuff, it's hit-or-miss, but not here. From the opening rocker "Wire Greyhounds" to the closing sing-along "Father Sgt. Christmas Card," Robert Pollard and the crew deliver the goods in prime 1960s British Invasion fashion. Other standouts (and already GBV classics) include "Christian Animation Torch Carriers," "Cheyenne," "Eureka Signs," and "The Ids are Alright."
If you are a fan of: the Kinks, the Who, the Beatles, the Hollies, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, the Zombies, etc.: BUY THIS ALBUM! You won't be sorry. And while you're at it, buy the earlier GBV stuff, too. Just throw that money around. Pollard and Co. will toast you with a Miller Lite at their next sloshy show.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Universal Truth...A Classic in Form, Flow & Production 18 Jun. 2002
By lrutigliano - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Critics have been writing that this album is a "return" to the greatness of Alien Lanes, Bee Thousand era GbV but that would be an oversimplification....Because this collection of songs moves the band forward in many different ways.Yes, there's the short songs peppered through this album ala Alien Lanes...But Pollard has totally mastered the art of writing a short yet complete song like Wire Greyhounds :36 the opener on Universal Truths.Yes there are many of these brief mid-fi jewels(Zap,Love 1,The Weeping Bogeyman,Factory of Raw Essentials,The Ids are Alright)and they are the glue that flows this album so perfectly.But what I truly love about this album are the prog rock songs.These four songs are standouts: Christian Animation Torch Carriers,Storm Vibrations,Pretty Bombs & Car Language.Christian Animation Torch Carriers & Storm Vibrations are beautiful songs that build with soaring & crashing melodies.Pretty Bombs uses brilliantly twisted instrumentation from a string quartet to push the envelope of experimentation.Car Language also pushes the envelope with nifty little sound effects....guitars beeping like car horns but not in an obvious way, kind of swirling through the song for you discover for yourself..Again GENIUS.Yes and there are the singles those catchy songs that Pollard writes so effortlessly.There are 3 standouts, Cheyenne(pristine Pollard vocals & phrasing)Everywhere with Helicopter(infectious rocker)Back to the Lake(another beauty)The remaining songs a little harder to catagorize but they are just as good, Skin Parade( a bit of a stomper),The Whoish Wings of Thorn,Eureka Signs, From a Voice Plantation...and the perfect album closer,Father Sargent Christmas Card.This self produced album has it all;it brings all together in form, flow & production & it pushes the artistic envelope in all the right places.Buy it now!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Return to Form...Bob is the King 25 Jun. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Bob has a way of taking all that has been done before and filtering it down to the best elements. This album is diverse and glorious. One of GBV's most consistent offerings, it also offers flashes of the brilliance we all love from Bee Thousand, Alien Lanes, Under the Bushes, etc. A real plus here is the spontaneity of mid-90's GBV coupled with a reasonable level of fidelity. Wire Greyhounds, Skin Parade, Storm Vibrations, Everywhere With Helicopter, Eureka Signs, and Cheyenne are all instantly enjoyable. Most of the others will creep up on you the way Bee Thousand did after 7 or 8 listens. Bob is without question the greatest songwriter of the last decade assuming "great" is defined by the sheer number of outstanding rock songs written over the period. Long live Bob Pollard.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Who went home and cried 24 Jun. 2002
By W. French - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Once again, I am forced to wonder not only how Robert Pollard writes so many songs, but how most of them are really really good. A friend of mine who is also a huge GbV fan likens Bob to Elvis Costello, in that "he's just damn good, and that's all there is to it". I listened to this CD several times before reading any reviews. My initial reaction was that it reminded me of earlier GbV albums. With each successive listen it became apparent that this record is truly special. Every song is solid. I know Bob has been accused of "filler", but he has his reasons (I like to think he's tweaking the people who are apt to complain about it). Anyway, there's nothing like that going on here. This is good, solid rock music, fresh yet familiar. It's top drawer both lyrically and musically. Again, Bob has masterfully chosen his lineup, most notably Doug Gillard, a fantastic guitarist and consummate professional. This album is further proof that the focus of Robert Pollard's songwriting remains pure, his vision distinct. I think GbV fans will recognize that this album is a standout, distilling everything you like about the band in 19 generous tracks. New listeners should pick up Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes first, although I'm tempted to recommend this as an entry point because it seems to embody the essence of classic GbV quite well. My recommendation is to buy everything you can get your hands on. Oh, and for the record, Michael Jackson is the king (for those of you who need a king).
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 1/2 Stars for Middle of the Road GBV 21 Jun. 2002
By D. Jobe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Okay, so considering a new Pollard/GBV album comes out about 5 times a year (no, really) after awhile you start really comparing each new album with the ones immediately before it. Strangely, you usually get a brilliant or a bad one, although that's not the case here. This album is neither as great as the underappreciated 'Isolation Drills,' 'Coreographed Man of War' or 'Speak Kindly of Your Volunteer Fire Department' but it also is not as maudlin as 'Do the Collapse' or the Airport 5 albums. That places it more in the category of 'Kid Marine,' a competent and well executed album displaying lots of talent yet lacking that certain something that puts Pollard's best work over the top. I find at the end of several listens that only a few tracks, like "Skin Parade," "Zap" and "From a Voice Plantation" really stick out. The rest sound like pretty standard fair that will sound great live but doesn't stand out. Still, one that the fans will want to pick up and a great driving disc. I just can't imagine it being what I reach for when I want a GBV disc. Oh well, I'm sure there will be a new one out shortly. Next!
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