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Frank Zappa - Lumpy Gravy CD (album) cover

LUMPY GRAVY

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.28 | 261 ratings

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js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars With a little editing, Lumpy Gravy could have been one of the better progressive rock albums ever recorded. Though there are a lot of clever and innovative musical collages on this album, there are also a lot of segments containing clumsy forced humor that undermine this album's potential greatness. Side two of the album contains an ongoing "silly" conversation about animals that is embarrassing in it's self- conscious attempts at abstract humor and reeks of a 60s style undeserved self-indulgence.

The album opens up strong with a Zappa-esque surf guitar instrumental that slowly segue ways into some more avant-garde styled rock and then into some collaged bits of noise. Throughout the course of the album Frank serves up many different 60s instrumental styles including surf, lounge exotica, movie soundtracks and others. He splices these instrumentals with composed sections that mimic and/or pay tribute to some of his favorite composers including; Varese, Stravinsky, Webern, Stockhausen and Pierre Henry.

It is pretty obvious while listening to this album that a lot of the guitar melodies are being handled by the master of 60s guitar instrumentals, famous LA session man Tommy Tedesco. At this time Tommy could probably play circles around Frank and no one could match Tommy's melodic sounds when it came to recreating the sort of jazz/lounge music that Frank wrote for much of this album. Another interesting thing I noticed was how many of the tunes on here show up in other forms on other albums released by Zappa in the 60s and 70s.

This album would have been much better if it had only contained the quirky innovative instrumental tracks combined with Zappa's tongue-in-cheek avant-garde "compositions". Instead Frank tried to fool the world into thinking he was not a self-important blow-hard and inserted some very un-funny humor that ultimately undermined much of his hard work.

js (Easy Money) | 4/5 |

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