Release Date: Aug 24, 2004
Record label: Matador
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Ever since they first burst into the consciousness of indie rock fans across our great nation in 1994 with Bee Thousand, Guided by Voices seemed like one of those bands that was always going to be there for us, letting loose with a steady stream of albums, singles, EPs, live shows, and side projects that even devoted fans had trouble keeping up with. But in April of 2004, GBV commandant Robert Pollard announced that the band would be calling it quits at the end of that year, and that Half Smiles of the Decomposed would be their last album. Given its status as GBV's sort-of-official recorded farewell, Half Smiles of the Decomposed carries significantly more psychic weight than previous albums from the group, so it's a bit surprising that the results hardly equal a "typical" Guided by Voices CD.
There's prolific, and then there's Guided By Voices. From Dayton, Ohio, and not so much a band as a cult, GBV have released, possibly, about 20 albums. This is to be their final release - though lest fans should panic, singer Robert Pollard also has a solo album out. Sole constant in the band's line-up, Pollard has, thankfully, largely shaken the tendency to write songs that consist of blink-and-you'll-miss-it snatches of brilliant melody that end as soon as they've begun, which made earlier records great listening for ADD sufferers, but otherwise frustrating.