Robert Pollard has been very fortunate to have some very
talented Multi-instrumentalists working with him,
such as Tobin Sprout, Doug Gillard, Todd Tobias, Nick Mitchell
and Chris Slusarenko, if I missed anyone, forgive me.
Slusarenko played bass guitar on “Half Smiles of the Decomposed”,
Guided By Voices’ last album and tour in 2004 and plays basically all of the
instruments for The Takeovers, except for a few guest spots.
Of course as history will tell us, The Takeovers was basically a dry run
for Bob’s next band, Boston Spaceships, which included Slusarenko
and John Moen from The Decemberists. Moen plays drums on most of the songs on
“Bad Football”, which is The Takeovers second and final album.
The Takeovers first album, “Turn to Red” was issued as number 40 of
Pollard’s Fading Captain Series. By the time of “Bad Football”,
the Fading Captain Series was no more.
Bad Football appeared on Off Records.
On my review for “Turn to Red” I said,
“This whole period was a creative reboot for Bob,
which is still going on to this day”.
On the Takeovers releases,
you can hear the excitement in Bob’s voice,
which, before that period, you didn’t hear as much.
It’s was like Bob had broken through to daylight,
perhaps he was happier in his personal life
after going through the life changes of divorce.
Listen to the first song, “You’re At It”,
Damn great song, starts with an acoustic guitar,
then the drums, bass and electric guitar.
That’s what I refer to as the “Ziggy/Pixies” Dynamic,
because of its mix of electric and acoustic guitar in a rock setting.
Bob really gets into the song and by the end he’s yelling.
If you listen closely at the end, he laughs and says “Wow”.
“Little Green Onion Man” was released as an ep;
This is where the title of the Boston Spaceships live album came from,
and this record title even gets a mention in the same verse,
“This song is giving me a bad taste
Like Licking Stamps and Drinking Shitty Coffee
It’s what happens when witnessing Bad Football”.
“Father’s Favorite Temperature” is pretty damn cool,
Bob duetting with himself on lead vocals.
sounds almost like country rock but it’s still got that GBV thang.
“Pretty Not Bad” comes blasting through with its overdriven guitar
and Bob singing in a “Cockney” accent.
He even points it out,
“I was born out of weirdness and intricate science
I got a fake English accent”.
Lots of great songs on this record,
and this is definitely one of them.
So is “Smokestack Bellowing Stars”, very late 60’s.
This is one of those songs that after hearing it a few times in a row,
you will find yourself humming it throughout your day.
“I Can See My Dog” could have been a hit single, if it were the late 60’s.
“The Jester of Helpmeat” is a cool weird song,
starts out with soft strumming guitar,
then abruptly goes into a Circus Devils thing,
I like it because I love the Circus Devils.
“Kicks at the Gym” almost sounds like he’s saying “Kick Out The Jam”,
which the band is doing, Kinda Punk.
“Music For Us” is a little mini-masterpiece,
which starts out with Bob and a piano,
then suddenly we are in Circus Devils territory again.
includes an announcement by DJ Turiel.
“My Will” is power fuzz/pop rock and great way to close the album.
“Bad Football” is the band’s last album of two,
but from the ashes of the Takeovers arose Boston Spaceships.
“Bad Football” shouldn’t be missed by any fan of Bob and Guided By Voices.