Isolation Drills

Isolation Drills

Each Guided By Voices release emphasizes a different aspect of the quirky combo's quest for perfect power pop. This Rob Schnapf-produced gem pumps up the guitars and turns the band's often lo-fi jangle into a hi-tech sonic crunch. Singer Robert Pollard is nearly trampled by the furious riffage and chunky guitar chords that come screaming in full-scale stereo. Hiding underneath the attack, Pollard continues to amaze with his inexhaustible library of classic pop melodies and contagious Brit-pop enthusiasm. Not bad for a former schoolteacher from Ohio. The album begins in particularly brawny fashion. "Fair Touching" and "Skills Like This" slide towards '70s power-pop hard rockers Cheap Trick in terms of obvious influences before lightening up just a tad for the layered swooning of "Chasing Heather Crazy." The 55 seconds of "Frostman" recall the band's casual whimsical days — that Pollard never abandoned but puts on hold here. One hesitates to call this a step towards maturity — there's always a childlike wonder blowing through these sweet blasts — but tracks such as "Twilight Campfighter" and "Glad Girls" and even the near prog-rock of "The Enemy" are brought to their full potential.

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