This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
For the last few years, Robert Pollard — singer, songwriter, chief cook and bottle-chugger of Dayton, Ohio indie-rock gods Guided by Voices — hasn’t been shy about voicing his desire for big-league rock stardom.
His first try, 1999’s Do the Collapse, didn’t do it, perhaps because the super-commercial tracks and gleaming pop production were too great a leap from his gritty, lo-fi beginnings. This time, however, Bob’s got the mix just right. Isolation Drills is the band’s most polished album yet, thanks to a consistently strong slate of crunching rockers (Smells Like This), sunshiney poppers (Glad Girls) and even the odd dab of glam (the Bowieish Pivotal Film). At the same time, though, it harkens back to their garage-rock glory days by including Bob’s trademark home recordings (Frostman) and condensed mini-tunes (the string-blessed Sister I Need Wine, the punky Want One?). And naturally, everything has the British Invasion vibe and stream-of-consciousness lyrics (“Pivotal film / Showing cloaks of rubber / Digital relay / Fingers stroking / Like mechanical lovers”) GBV fans know and love. I wouldn’t be surprised if the rest of the world comes to know and love them soon.