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Teenage Guitar
More Lies from the Gooseberry Bush

Teenage Guitar — More Lies from the Gooseberry Bush (September 16th, 2014)

United States Teenage Guitar — More Lies from the Gooseberry Bush 
♣   Robert Pollard refines the Teenage Guitar formula, bringing stronger songs and adding a plethora of instruments.
Birth name: Robert Ellsworth Pollard, Jr.
Born: October 31, 1957
Location: Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
Album release: September 16th, 2014 (LP) / 2nd (CD, FLAC, MP3)
Record Label: 2014 Fire Records
#01 Go Around (The Apartment Dwellers)     2:37
#02 Spliced At Acme Fair     2:16
#03 A Guaranteed Ratio     2:15
#04 Good Mary's House     1:34
#05 Skin Ride     2:28
#06 Full Glass Gone     1:29
#07 All You Fought For     1:49
#08 Gear OP     1:19
#09 No Escape     2:23
#10 Matthew's Ticker and Shaft     3:27
#11 The Instant American     2:12
#12 Normalized     2:27
#13 New Light      2:26
#14 Birthplace of the Electric Starter     1:27
#15 A Year That Could Have Been Worse     2:09
℗ 2014 Fire Records
♣   Steve Hopkins Assistant
♣   Phil Mehaffey Engineer, Executive Producer, Mastering
♣   Joe Patterson Assistant, Layout
♣   Robert Pollard Bass, Collage, Composer, Devices, Drum Machine, Drums, Effects, Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric), Guitar (Nylon String), Harmonica, Harpsichord, Layout, Mandolin, Organ (Hammond), Piano, Producer, Sampling, Vocals
♣   Robert Pollard, head lunatic of the Guided By Voices’ asylum, has a surfeit of original thoughts. (Most people are lucky to have even one, ever.) That this even needs to be expressed is evidence enough for its “truth,” as only obvious or obviously untrue things can ever hope to be true. Or to approach the truth. Something Pollard does with uncanny regularity, and which is further on display on every track on the gloriously unkempt, roiling–with–ideas More Lies from the Gooseberry Bush, the second record Pollard has released under the nom–de–rock Teenage Guitar. Here’s a song title: “Matthew’s Ticker and Shaft a. Come to Breakfast b. The Girls Arrive c. Division of Swans d. When Death Has a Nice Ring.” It starts with distorted guitar over a primitive snare–and–bass–drum beat (all instruments on all songs played by Pollard), shifts into an out–of–tune piano clumping along a simple seven–chord progression, lurches into a wall of distorted guitar as two tracks of Pollard wail, wide–panned in each speaker, before finally resolving in a pretty harpsichord figure (or some synthesized version thereof) inelegantly tripping over itself before trailing off into the next track: “The Instant American,” which presents multi–tracked Pollard vocals chanting over a background of what sounds like a bunch of people at a party drinking. ♣   These are not the two strangest tracks on the fourteen–song album, which clocks in at just over thirty minutes. If there are times when Pollard’s musical ambition seems to overwhelm his ability to present his ideas coherently, that’s a feature, not a bug. The spastic, machine–generated beat of “A Guaranteed Ratio,” the ham–handed church organ of “Good Mary’s House,” the off–key crooning, the awkwardly plucked possible–banjo on “All You Fought For,” the general (but not always) sloppiness, the rumbling toms and slashing power chording of “New Light”: it all adds up to a sense of urgency and an awful lot of unconstrained joy suffusing every single track on More Lies From The Gooseberry Bush. For those who like their Pollard stately, tuneful and elegiac — sure, he can do that without effort, but that’s not what Teenage Guitar is about. Teenage Guitar is about trying hard without seeming to try hard. The result is that rare thing: a completely original album. Which is also a true delight, a sky–blue gem, a timeless and untimely cabinet of wonder. And by some few miles the greatest musical artifact your ears will have the pleasure of encountering this year.
:: https://www.midheaven.com/
Review by Mark Deming;  Score: **½
♣   The history of Guided by Voices has made clear the band is really Robert Pollard and whoever else he decides is part of the lineup at any given moment, so what is it that truly separates GbV from Pollard's many solo projects and side vehicles? Pollard has unwittingly given us the definitive answer to this question with Teenage Guitar, in which Pollard not only writes and sings the songs, as usual, but plays all the instruments himself. On the second Teenage Guitar album, 2014's More Lies from the Gooseberry Bush, Pollard reveals he has a band to do the work he can't and/or shouldn't do himself — namely playing guitar, bass, keyboards, or percussion instruments. If you miss the chaotic lo–fi attack of GbV's earliest work, you might find things to like in More Lies from the Gooseberry Bush, but most of the time, this sounds like a set of rough demos, with two important differences — one, on an actual demo, Pollard would be less likely to decide he needed to play drums, and two, only Pollard's bandmates would be expected to listen to his demos. In terms of songcraft, More Lies from the Gooseberry Bush is on a par with the average non–GbV Pollard effort, though this leans to the more elemental end of Pollard's musical spectrum. But the performances make it clear poor Bob lacks the technical expertise of the average kid in a garage band, and while GbV was never about chops, there's a difference between inspired ineptitude and, well, ineptitude. Simply put, Robert Pollard may be a great songwriter and a wildly entertaining frontman, but there are compelling reasons why he had a band of for–real musicians rather than working as a solo act, and More Lies from the Gooseberry Bush is a worse–case–scenario example of the consequences of following the latter path. Only the most obsessive Pollard completists need to pick this up. :: http://www.allmusic.com/
Tom Clayton, 27 August 2014;  Score: 6/10
:: http://www.thefourohfive.com/review/article/teenage-guitar-more-lies-from-the-gooseberry-bush-140
:: http://www.thelineofbestfit.com/reviews/albums/teenage-guitar-more-lies-from-the-gooseberry-bush
:: http://thefirenote.com/2014/09/15/teenage-guitar-more-lies-from-the-gooseberry-bush-album-review/

Teenage Guitar
More Lies from the Gooseberry Bush