Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Universal Truths and Cycles shows the band has lost touch with the most important thing outside producers brought to their TVT albums -- someone to help pick, choose, and sequence Robert Pollard's over-abundance of songs.
  2. The band have gelled into Pollard's best yet, and it's their brief forays into prog-rock complexity that make the record stand out within the GBV catalog. [Jul 2002, p.82]
  3. 60
    The best songs have concise melodies and a likeable punch. The worst just sound like sketches, riffs a more traditionally ambitious group would have discarded. [#8, p.116]
  4. 80
    Fans might finally have a proper companion to the arena-in-my-closet-rock of '95's Alien Lanes.
  5. Universal Truths and Cycles has got something for everyone who's ever liked Guided By Voices even a little.
  6. You remember Bee Thousand, Alien Lanes, Mag Earwhig! ? Well, those days are here again.
  7. 70
    Among the lot lie some stone-cold Pollard classics. [#55, p.76]
  8. 80
    Universal Truths is not as raw overall as GBV's earliest efforts, but it seems much closer to their wonderfully chaotic live sound than the last couple of records have. [July 2002, p.104]
  9. Is much, much better than a record made by chronically drunk middle-aged men has any right to be.
  10. GBV have made a record that should please any fan still listening.
  11. While it doesn't recapture the magic of the Sprout-era Guided by Voices records, Universal Truths and Cycles marks the return of some of the most sorely missed qualities of early Guided by Voices: strong vocal melodies and refreshingly atypical song structures.
  12. Universal Truths and Cycles is not only Guided By Voices strongest record in some time, it is also the best rock record this year.
  13. This may not be their greatest album to date, but Universal Truths and Cycles is a charming record that shows the Pollard production line remains in good order. [July 2002, p.114]
  14. GBV are self-produced once again and simultaneously looser and sharper as a result.
  15. 70
    Of course it's nothing new, but Guided by Voices' precision messes are their own reward. [Aug 2002, p.110]
  16. No more fancy studios, no more high priced producers; this is truly GBV as nature intended -- reckless, hook-laden and drunk as hell.
  17. When Pollard is at his best, as he often is here, it's the rest of the world that sounds out of step.
  18. 60
    Really rather magnificent, in its way. [Jul 2002, p.107]

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