Album Review

Teenage Guitar – “Force Fields At Home” – [Guided By Voices Inc.]

Naysayer   1/20/2014   12-inch, A Library

There are just some artists whom everyone just has to have some type of opinion concerning their every move. Whether they bring it upon themselves, deserve it or not, it just happens sometimes. Robert Pollard is one of those folks. Pollard, of Guided By Voices (GBV) fame, or who is Guided By Voices, because really, no matter who plays in the band it’s about Bob, anyway Bob P. is a musician’s musician. This is his career, his job. I mean, come on, there is a Guided By Voices, Inc. So Pollard has tons of recordings under so many different projects besides GBV that it is hard to keep up. And that kind of prolific output can turn people the wrong way for some reason, which I don’t get. I think people out there get jealous. Or they think they sort of own the artist because there is so much out there to create a type of picture of the person. Whatever the reason, with the release of Pollard’s latest project, Teenage Guitar, music media, fans, critics are all going ape shit. Comments fly left and right. It seems that anyone that can hold a pen or type has something to say (which I guess includes me). I sort of feel sorry for Pollard, being under the microscope and all. It must get frustrating. But oh yes, the review. So with Teenage Guitar’s “Force Fields At Home”, Pollard, and two other guys on several tracks, but really almost all Pollard on all 18 tracks, has created an album that harkens back to a style from the early to mid 90’s when he was experimenting with his sounds at his own home recording space. Using, as he says, “old instruments”, and recorded on some classic 90’s 8 track recording system at his home studio, Robert has created that quirky, scratchy, lovely sound that is just outside enough to make some alterna pop lovers frown but not so much so that the frown doesn’t turn upside down. This album is good, and don’t get pissy about that. The songs are short yet feel theatrical and almost operatic. The sound is rich even if some instrumentation is sparse. The recordings sound distant but familiar, scratchy and straining but not strained. Time signatures change. Moods change. And there are lyrics. Real lyrics with a lyric sheet that you can maybe not sing along to but at least follow. Dare I say poetry? Why not. Not every cut is a stunner but that is what makes it all so good together. You don’t want everything to be right. And with that happening it all kind of turn out right.

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