After a recent two-album stint at TVT records (“Do the Collapse,” “Isolation Drills”), GBV decided to trade in the gloss of larger-label studios and return to their old home at Matador, which offered more artistic control. A wise decision, since their best albums were on the indie (“Alien Lanes,” “Under the Bushes, Under the Stars,” “Mag Earwig”). Moreover, TVT seemed to see GBV only for their promising pop-rock potential. The resulting attempt at clean, slick production spackled over the cracks and crevices that gave GBV its sense of careless brilliance.
The new album, “Universal Truths and Cycles,” is thereby a return to form. The sheen has been stripped away once more to show the grit and grain beneath. (Although tracks like “Christian Animation Torch Carriers” and “Eureka Signs” can still make thinly veiled pop-rock like Weezer and Matchbox Twenty cower back to the outlet mall from whence it came.)
Read the full review at The Japan Times Online.