Friday, June 21, 2013

Acid Ranch As Forever: A Manifesto Of Fractured Imagination and Wreckless Living (2005)

Acid Ranch As Forever: A Manifesto Of Fractured Imagination And Wreckless Living
(2005, Rockathon Records)

The second Acid Ranch LPs is one of the rarest releases in the Pollard universe, one capable of delivering goosebumps to the collector nerd, and pure headaches to the ones who listen to it. To be fair, this is probably the most listenable of the three Acid Ranch records, so look on the bright side Mr. Gloom N. Doom. Much like the first LP, Acid Ranch as Forever... is another collection of improved basement tapes from Robert Pollard, brother Jim, and GBV's Mitch Mitchell from the early and mid-80s. Now, let's take a quick look at what makes this release such a damn diamond in the ruff.

Like the other LPs, this was limited to 500 (525 to be exact). However, each LP jacket is a hand screen print over used LP jackets from other bands. Yes, it's possible to own a Billy Joel edition As Forever..., or how 'bout a Gordon Lightfoot? Sure. Each cover is different! Hence, this piece of history sold out quick and remains a fairly tough find on the secondary market.

For more on this release, you can check out the incredibly comprehensive FAQ on the Guided by Voices Database.

Star Sprinkled Banner- 1 Someone plays the "Star Spangled Banner" on guitar. Sounds like it's being played by a kid sight reading a guitar tab on a pawn shop guitar. Complete with some live claps! Was this recorded live? I wish I knew. Apt kick-off track to this Acid Ranch LP though, for all of its absurdity. 

UFO To Hitler- 4 Sparse chord acoustic strumming. Pollard comes up with a relaxed, surprisingly decent melody and then jumps into a stream of ranting lyrics. 

Promise Her Everything- 4 Short, upbeat, patchwork pop song. Little thought executed, but pretty awesome. Could have been on an early GBV EP and no eyelash would'be been batted. 

Supersonic Love Funky Love Gun-  The same song originally appeared on Suitcase 2 earlier in the year.  Read the review there. 

Farmer Man- 2 Tremolo, warbled guitar that has a violin-like quality. Mitch Mitchell takes lead vocals. Pollard takes back-ups. Marching vocal part is the highlight in this bellowing tune. Song continues for another minute for little reason.

I'm Not Lookin'- 5 Eric Burdon-style '60s rock song. Nuggets style-harmony. More tremolo guitar and ghastly reverbed-out vocals from Pollard and Mitch Mitchell. Great gem!

Conspiracy Of The Machine Operators- 2 One half Bob Pollard spoken-work poetry (solo), one half thrift-store quality headbanger while Pollard yells. Ultimately forgettable. 

Spacely Sprockets- 3 More wobbly electric guitar noodling. However, sounds like a future Nirvana riff played on a toy amp. Complete with hand-clap (knee-slap, perhaps?) drumming. 

Attack Of The Powerwalkers- 1  Dueling guitars play two meandering jigs as someone keeps time with drumsticks. Song contains 9 loan snare hits, and 4 whole snare rolls!  Am I loosing my mind?

Polly Shooter- 2 Tiny sounding electric guitar as Mitch and Bob sing exaggerated, drunken, almost enjoyable nonsense melodies over one another. 

Beautiful Plastic- 4 Pollard plays a decent, swirling psych acoustic riff, and eases through and non-offensive vocal melody. WHOA!  An Acid Ranch breakthrough.  

Honky Song- 2 Lo-fi, weirdo, goof-ball western tune that sounds like a TV show theme from purgatory. Pollard repeatedly sings "I'm a honky," as if giddily galloping. Weird "horn" part is unfortunately catchy, but in a shitty way. Kind of funny, though. 

Psychopath Thermometer- 1 Psych reverb electric plucks are few and far between. Pollard howls things. 4 minutes long! This one's just painful. Not enjoyable in and realm of Pollard songsmanship. 

Jerry Falwell- 1 Chapter 1 in a trilogy of "Jerry" named tracks. Pollard says "... looked a Jerry Falwell..." and it ends. 5 seconds long! SECONDS! 5! FIVE! It has now taken you longer to read this review than listen the the actual song! Song? HA! What? 

Jerry- 3 Grungy, acoustic song. Pollard basically laying down a solo demo here. Nothing too special, but its brevity and cryptic lyrics raise a brow. Worth a listen. 

Jerry (Alt)- 2 Hushed, minute longer version of previous "Jerry" song. Follows same format, but with extra needless acoustic plucking, and name dropping of The Incredible Hulk.

Congratulations, You're Under Sedation- 2 Electric guitar bullshit wobbles around, and duel lazy vocals moan a melody over it. Pollard pours his heart out over being tired of a loved one not appreciating the things he does. Basically, I just paraphrased his spoken work piece. Ends with duel vocal harmony part that teeters on creepy, if not unfortunate. 

Scope- 3 Pollard with acoustics plays bouncy, yet downer, rock riff and gives a role-call of impromptu names and random lyrics about being home alone at night.

Great Snake God Of The Golden Sun- 1  Title might be both cooler (arguably) and longer than the song itself (not a fact). 25 second closer. "Ho-hum. Ho-hum" literally go the vocals. About as brilliant as looking in the mirror and moaning to yourself.