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Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica CD (album) cover


Captain Beefheart



3.74 | 337 ratings

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4 stars Dare you enter the world of Beefheart? This album is so hrd to fit into a genre. Maybe think of it as avant-garde blues, with a hint of free jazz. This weird album twists and turns through 28 tracks, each one with its own individual feel, but all staying with the manic styl of the album. The instruments are played with expert precision, and the poetic lyrics keep this album interesting throughout.

'Frownland' kicks things off with one of the albums more straight-forward tracks. The there's the a cappella 'The Dust Blows Forward and th Dust Blows Back'. This sung poem is very weird and haunting. 'Dachau Blues' sees the Captain's voice at his gruffest as he describes the suffering of the Jewish people in WWII and warns against a thrid world war. 'Ella Guru' brings us too a more straight forward song, structured like a pop song, but still pretty weird. It contains the first of many discussions about the words fast and bulbous. 'Hair Pie: Bake 1' is an absolutely manic instrumental, ending with a discussion about how they are recording it from a bush. 'Moonlight in Vermont' is a highlight with a strong tune under all that mayhem, and some desparate lyrics about the effects of a full moon on people. 'Pachuco Cadaver' starts with another fast and bulbous speech, before going into one of the better tunes off this album. 'Bill's Corpse' keeps this quality up, but I don't like 'Sweet Swee Bulbs' as much. It doesn't hold my attention. 'Neon Meate Dream of a Octafish' is a total freakout, with free association lyrics sung/spoken manically. 'China Pig' sounds like a garage recording, and is one of the most desperate sounding tracks on the whole album. With just voice and guitar, this tracks funny lyrics provide some welcome comic relief. 'My Human Gets Me Blues' is odd to say the least, with its strange lyrics and strange... everything else. Next are the two intstrumentals: 'Dali's Car' and 'Hair Pie: Bake 2', both similar sounding in the manic vein of the album. 'Pena' includes a further discussion about fast and bulbous, before the lyrics are screamed out at breakneck speed. 'Well' is another weird a cappella poem featuring promintly the word...well. This is possibly the best of the three a cappella tracks. 'When Big Joan Sets Up' is the longest song, giving the Magic Band time to develop the weirdness into a stopry about a woman whose hands are too small. Odd indeed. 'Fallin Ditch' and 'Sugar N Spikes' almost sound normal after it, although they are both strong tracks. 'Ant Man Bee' is an environmentally conscious tale of ants men and bees. 'Orange Claw Hammer' is the final a capella track and the longest of the three. It is sung in the style of a sea shanty, and unlike the res of the album sounds sad and reminiscent rather than desperate and manic. 'Wild Life' is less interesting and a bit too repetitive for my liking. 'She's Too Much for My Mirror' is good, but doesn't stand out much. 'Hobo Chang Ba' is weird and excellent. 'The Blimp (moustrapreplica)' is a weird song. It is apparently The Mothers of Invention practicing while a member of the Magic Band recites a poem down the phone to Frank zappa! This is a strange, unsettling, yet compelling track. 'Steal Softly Through the Snow' is a softer sounding pop- oriented track, providing relief from the weirdness. 'Old Fart at Play' brings back the weirdness, and 'Veteran's Day Poppy' has some interesting lyrics, ending in a jam.

This album is not without weaknesses by any means, but being over 75 minutes long includes an abundance of great material. Well worth buying if you're willing to explore, and a well deserved four stars, for this 'flawed masterpiece'.

burtonrulez | 4/5 |


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