Friday, June 21, 2013

The Great Houdini Wasn't So Great (2007)

The Great Houdini Wasn't So Great
(2007, Record Company Records)

In 2007, Pollard released the third and (presumably) last Acid Ranch LP. Like the two before, The Great Houdini... was limited to 500 copies, and sold out in a flash. Despite such rabid sales, this for FANS ONLY release doesn't come without its head-scratching moments, and piercingly dull jaunts of stamina.   Following the same format as the previous two, this LP consists of largely improved, basement tracks recorded with Robert and Jim Pollard, and future GBV guitarist Mitch Mitchell to boom-box. Unlike the previous two, The Great Houdini... proves rarely intriguing, but rather practically unlistenable... and that's saying something. After 56 previously unearthed Acid Ranch tracks, The Great Houdini... presents the listener with the bottom of the barrel, clanging scraped from the bottom of the dusty suitcase tapes and delivered to your ears (if you were lucky enough to procure an affordable copy). Another vast collection of surrealist beat poetry and haphazard, skeletal guitar banging. The third time comes up short on charm.  

Gosimer- 1 Oh great! They unearthed more Acid Ranch material! One minute UFO noises. Some drums. Let's go!

Wayne Saw It- 2 Who is Wayne and what did this man see? Complete lackluster electric guitar plucks with hushed, Pollard vocals. Second half of the song, constructed by surreal lyrics slightly makes up for completely boring recorded idea. 

Writhe- 1 One minute long, stupid guitar scale played through some pedal, while second guitar plays a chord. No one should hear this ever, please. 

Lie To The Rainbow- 3 Acoustic guitar lead track. One minute plus. Maybe 7 to 10 actual lyrics sung in between the mumbling and hollering, but promising melodic line. 

Pure Hot Tar- 2 Electric guitar and Pollard vocals. Sounds as if he's reading off a local ad for a drive-way resurfacing company in this bluesy, sad-rock tune. 

I Wanna Go- 1 Tremolo nausea guitar strobes in and out and Mitch Mitchell takes lead vocals who recalls the sounds of one wounded in the crotch region. 

The Kind Of Thing I Like To Talk About- 1 Boring electric, wobbly guitar backed with Pollard speak-sing thing. Two minutes, but who could possibly care? 

You're Talkin' Brotherly Love And You Set My Hand On Fire- 2 Clopping, marching, lo-fi, with lap-clapping percussion and Pollard vocal-thing. Kind of funny at least. A for effort on the drumming.  

Feeling Is- 1 Wind-up music box plays "It's A Small World" with distant one-note guitar plucks. 51 seconds. 

The Invincible Dart Throwing Competition- 3 Nearly 5 minutes. Pollard speaks what sounds like an old-time radio monologue. Intriguing, and surreal first half turns into a bizarre, but melodic outro.  Hang with it. 

Contemplate The Sun- Some rhythmic clapping along with the percussive, ambiance of one's lips blowing into a bottle. The auteurs have spoken! Pollard says stuff. Woof!

Chemical Fun In The Sun- 2 Electric guitar line plays a few repetitive plucks. Inaudible Pollard vocals echo eerily. Moody and Jandekian, but with a touch more form.  Just a touch.  

Go Away- 1 30 something seconds. Pollard repeats "baby" a bunch of times and yells "GO AWAY" over sci-fi looped guitar.  Yup, that title speaks volumes.

The Pain Stakes- 1 Tremolo pedal is on again and cranked up. For 4 minutes! The first 2 titles of Side-B say it alll. Never-ending psych-tinged drivel. 

Which Way To Run- 2 First minute is basically nothing but Uncle Bob doing his leftover poetry. Some semblance of a song kicks in after that, making it a slightly bearable sketch of a tune. 

Comp. No. X- 1 Jim Pollard perfect the "amp drop" on this one. Toy xylophone pounds away in the background. Pollard sings something through effects pedals. Grrrrrreat big 1 on this stinker. 

Lower Lords- 1 Single string plucks with subtle guitar drones at times. Some improved vocals. What is happening? 

Wee Wee Wah Wah- 1  No. 25 seconds. 

It's Weird What The People Say- 2 "Bob, would you and Living Praise Choir lead us in 'To God Be The Glory'?" Yup, the classic sample that begins "Expecting Brainchild" off GBV's Vampire On Titus, can be found introducing this track years before its GBV usage! After the intro, Bob responds with "I sure will." and sings a short bullshit thing. Historically cool though for Pollard nuts who care about such things. 

Oh, Siren- 1 One minute of herniated laughing, hooting, and hollerin'. AND shit guitar strums. 

Rogue- 1 Is that clinking bottles? Someone literally gargles water, and clangs on objects in the basement. The audio equivalent of scraping teeth. 2 minutes of this, no less. 

Not Version- 1 One minute of spacey garbled nothingness. Aptly named for every not version of everything. Therefore, it is; nothing. Whoa! Blew a mind. 

... We'l Be Serving Coffee And Doughnuts- 3 Sad, murky electric guitar riff over old man, snowed-in, desolation vocals. Cold lo-fi piece worth its mood in a spin alone. Extended whistling at the end is a minus. 

Wind & Whistles- 1 Industrial, ambient rumble and a whistle for a minute and a half.  Good night Acid Ranch. 


  1. Also of historical note is the 'love that will destroy the ozone' line on The Pain Stakes: an early forerunner of Airport 5's Burns Carpenter, Man Of Science. The album is a very hard listen though.

  2. I can forget that I own this album for years at a time. listening to it right now. yep. not good.

  3. Eric, your review of "Wee Wee Wah Wah" is hilarious.