Half Smiles Of The Decomposed Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 16 Ratings

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  • Summary: After 20 years and over 20 albums, Dayton, Ohio's Guided By Voices (led throughout its duration by Robert Pollard) is calling it quits with this final release.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. One of the highlights of their career.
  2. 82
    It's ultimately a pop album, reflective and thoughtful, and these songs are just that: songs. [#12, p.97]
  3. A more pop-oriented approach, with acoustic textures and melancholic tendencies that recall some of the band's finer work. [#7]
  4. The album isn't a certified classic like earlier GBV favorites "Alien Lanes" and "Under the Bushes, Under the Stars," but it does have a healthy dollop of Pollard's trademark effortless pop perfection.
  5. Finds GBV playing to their long-standing strengths. [Oct 2004, p.124]
  6. Pollard does boost the voltage like before, but the album's apparent air of consideration is rare for GBV... This doesn't really improve the slipping hit-to-miss ratio GBV has produced for the past few albums, but it does set Half Smiles apart.

See all 22 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 12
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 12
  3. Negative: 1 out of 12
  1. JorgeC
    Aug 25, 2004
    Robert Pollard is from another planet.
  2. anderton
    Aug 25, 2004
    Bittersweet masterpiece.
  3. eric
    Aug 25, 2004
    10 as any GBV song is
  4. markf
    Aug 31, 2004
    I'd probably give it a 7.5 if possible (Hey, MC, why isn't it possible? It can't be that hard!) I've enjoyed all the recent GBV albums. I enjoy the electric guitar sonics, mostly inspired by The Who, with Peter Gabriel takin' over vocals from Roger Daltrey on about 80-90% of the songs. What I like the best about this one are the acoustic jams which pop up more often than before. I will admit that this album "seemed" to have a little-bit-more filler than previously, but if you believe Dubya should be kicked out of D.C., then perhaps, those can be forgiven. As far as John R goes, I have no explanation, except maybe take a vacation and/or a chill-pill (or maybe change your politics!?!Apparently, you wanted to kick RP while you still had the chance.) This is a pretty-decent swan song, but too bad it wasn't epic. Of course, if it was, there'd be no reason to have a swan song! Expand
  5. LawrenceP
    Sep 17, 2004
    Average for these guys. A masterpiece for most bands.
  6. NeilD
    Sep 16, 2004
    Their weakest since Do The Collapse. Still there is some strong stuff on here. Especially the first five tracks and the final cut.
  7. JohnR
    Aug 23, 2004
    Oh Bob what happened? You created your worst album, and then you say goodbye. Perhaps it's just a ruse. At least that's what I'm hoping. Expand

See all 12 User Reviews