Isolation Drills - Guided by Voices

Universal acclaim - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. 90
    One of the band's best.... While 1999's Ric Ocasek-produced Do The Collapse was criticized by some for its thick, pop-radio gloss, Isolation Drills shows more restraint, reconciling Pollard's idiosyncrasies with the track-to-track consistency great rock albums demand. [#49, p.75]
  2. From sparse DIY fragments to string-enhanced ballads and well-wrought pop, the material on Isolation Drills is as diverse as it is consistently compelling.
  3. The group has created an album filled not only with the timeless pop hooks you have come to expect but with the anthemic swagger that is the hallmark of many of the great rock recordings of the last 30 years.
  4. From GBV's earliest days, Pollard has displayed, in almost equal measure, a talent for catchy melodies and for daring eccentricity, with his best songs balancing the two instincts. That dynamic pervades Isolation Drills, with the tension producing some of the most instantly enjoyable songs of Pollard's career while maintaining a strong sense of experimentation.
  5. Yes, it's fun rockin' pop. But, unlike a lot of today's pop music, Guided By Voices keep their depth.
  6. Guided By Voices sound more assured than ever before, reflecting on the travails of life in a rock’n’roll band with uncommon honesty and power.
  7. Ditching lo-fi aesthetics for a more radio-ready sound in the spirit of, say, the Raspberries or Badfinger, Pollard has wisely chosen not bury his songs in oblique lyrical references and muddy tape hiss.
  8. Isolation Drills sounds like the real rock album GBV have always wanted to make...
  9. Isolation Drills makes the case more persuasively than ever that these indie-pop godfathers should matter to more than just the loyalists.
  10. 80
    Isolation Drills may not match Bee Thousand's magical, mystical tone (not many records can), but it's as melodic and powerful as the best of GBV's vast catalog. It also firmly cements Pollard's reputation as one of rock's all-time greats...
  11. A solid, riff-driven rock record that may disappoint those still awaiting Bee Thousand II, though it offers plenty of treats to those who are willing to approach it with open ears.
  12. Another surprisingly coherent and substantial power pop record with solid hooks and memorable songs, another dazzling combination of Anglo-pop melody, arena rock chord changes, and DIY aesthetic.
  13. If anyone's making radio-worthy rock 'n' roll nowadays, it's Guided By Voices.
  14. 70
    Isolation Drills' anthems are shamelessly charming, even bashfully moving. [June 2001, p.153]
  15. 60
    His Who-tastic riffs remain belligerent and plentiful, but Pollard sounds grimmer, as if the former grade-school teacher suddenly realizes that touring in a van past age 40 isn't as much fun as he expected. [Jun/Jul 2001, p.111]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 9 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. May 25, 2011
    Isolation Drills was kinda one of those albums we forget about later on, but remembering it again sure is good. some of the songs were boring, but most of them bring back what we love about GBV. Full Review »
  2. DJB
    Jan 18, 2005
    Critics and fans agree THIS ALBUM ROCKS!!! Naysayers BEWARE: This album/group by comparison is more fresh and alive then practically everything else out there. Long Live GBV!!! R.I.P. Full Review »
  3. DavidJ.
    Nov 29, 2001
    GBV rock. That's all I have to say.