An album which sounds like various cuttings from a garage floor, held together with staples. Looking at the staples, you see that they’ve been been put in a few times, before they’ve finally stuck. There are holes around the edges where previous staple attempts have failed, but looking at the staples in place now, they look solid, they look good. The cuttings are held in place well, and you can see that although the previous stapling attempts have marred the quality of the collection on the whole, looking at the whole work now, it all looks rather neat.

Guided By Voices have been around for a while, in various incarnations, but right now they’re back in the formation many fans recognise as their original, and possibly best, lineup. What effect does this have on the music, however? In truth, this is a solid release. By all means, not the best thing we’ve ever seen from this band, but it’s a step in the right direction, definitely.

Those of us who have followed Guided By Voices for a while will recognise the usual mish-mash of themes and genres at play here. We have pretty much everything lo-fi going on here. Songs such as ‘Doughnut For A Snowman’, typical love songs reminiscent of mid-career REM, are intertwined with moody numbers such as ‘Hang Mr. Kite’, which sounds like a refrain from Les Misérables. A refrain in which Jean Valjean considers whether or not to end his own life, or spend all his energy chasing after a criminal made principally out of string.

There are a lot of songs here worth mentioning, but none which truly mark themselves as important listening. We can take this album one of two ways: a band past their best is reinforcing why they stopped making music in the first place, or a band past their best is showing just why they have decided to come back and start making music again. I would definitely side with the latter, as no matter how drowned out the singing sounds, no matter how dull the guitars sound, and no matter how forgetful and short the entire album feels at times, the band themselves feel cohesive, feel back at home, happy to make music which they completely have a good hold of.

All in all, the album sounds like it’s more to do with the importance of this band getting back together, back to their original lineup, and the fun involved with them creating something like this. For the fan’s of Guided By Voices’ original sound, there is a lot to like here, but for people new to the band, this may not be the album to show off the band’s strengths.