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Frank Zappa - The Mothers Of Invention: Absolutely Free CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



4.05 | 500 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars Second album from Zappa's Inventive Mothers and well in line with the Freak Out debut album, but also hinting at the coming Lumpy Gravy. The Mothers are now in a typical (if not classic) line-up, although one of the Gardner isn't there. The black & white artwork shows a menacing Zappa towering over the rest of his Mothers, but this album is a real collective of musicians, even if Zappa's guitar is the unsung hero. Again Zappa uses his slapstick Cheech & Chong-like humour and raises the famous question: "does humour belong in music?" and still mixes every stylev of music he laid his ears on.

Opening on the classic Plastic People, sung in a typical silly Francesco manner over an impressive jazz-rock. Ensues a bunch of usual Zappa-esque tracks, often dominated by the over-the-top (and sometimes grotesque) vocals, where they develop a rather unhealthy fixation on vegetables, including pumpkins and a yodelling rutabaga and call after the now- familiar Suzy Creamcheese on the flipside. Most of the music is brilliant jazz-rock, but it rather buried behind the intrusive and obstructive vocals, except in rare instrumental passages, like in the excellent Ritual Pumpkin Dance, which is the first (of two) long track of the album.

The flipside starts on the bluesy Big Leg Emma, followed by the Beefheart-ian Do Me Right and again the usual flood of weird tracks, this time topped by the very strange Brown Shoes, where dissonance is making a disturbing (for the album flow) appearance in the longest track of the album.

Definitely a step up from Freak Out, and while the Zappa-ian absurdities are still around, they don't hinder too much the album's continuity as they had on their debut. If Creamcheese and Brown Shoes had not been so weird, this album would stand in my faves of Zappa's early discography.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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