Teenage Guitar

Force Fields at Home

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No matter the project, you pretty much know what you're getting with a Robert Pollard release. For his Teenage Guitar project, the recording fidelity is bottom of the barrel, recorded straight to a four-track, and the musicianship is sparse and completely improvised. As in his indie group Guided by Voices, Pollard takes the frontman role, singing crazed lyrics to piano chords played with heavy hands, or strumming a guitar and shouting along with drums miked from the corner of the basement. Most bands would call these sketchpad demos, but Pollard's not the type to concern himself with a second take or filter out the rough stuff. Drummer Greg Demos and bassist Joe Patterson play off his lead admirably, holding down the tempo, no matter how dirgy, and occasionally adding sound effects with a vintage keyboard or by banging the springs of a guitar amp. Of course, Pollard's the main attraction -- mixed right up front -- and GBV fans will appreciate hearing his usual brand of psychotic psychedelia. Lyrics like "Levitate the mountain/Turn over the syrup/Colorize the fountain/Suburban cycle saccharine" and "Come see the grimy reaper/Come see the toxic rainbow/Come see the supermoon" are par for the course, and probably fun for drug-addled minds to try deciphering. Aside from the joys of hearing the usual odd brand of lyrics, Force Fields at Home is so scattershot and filled with flaws that it makes Bee Thousand seem precise and the Circus Devils side project seem well thought out. Only serious fans should investigate.

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