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The Residents - Duck Stab / Buster & Glen CD (album) cover


The Residents



4.28 | 100 ratings

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4 stars The 7 track Duck Stab ep was advertised in the UK music press with the slogan 'Ignorance of your culture is not considered cool' (or words to that effect; it was a long time ago). The music was baffling and brilliant, the lyrics (more or less audible for the first time on a Residents release) nonsensical and vaguely sinister and the anonymity of the band made them even more interesting. Unfortunately the sound quality of the ep was not great, especially after a few plays, and so it was re released as an album with another, unreleased 7 track ep as the B side.

The Duck Stab tracks are as good an introduction as any to the early Residents (pre Mark of the Mole). Skeletal electronics, bizarre studio effects and occasional interjections on guitar and fiddle from Snakefinger conjure up strange, twisted pictures of disturbed loners on society's margins, and the distorted vocals and twisted nursery rhyme lyrics give them a voice. Lines like 'Your lichen covered corpuscles are filthy to my fist' or 'An ether eating eskimo would gag upon your sight' become positively threatening when delivered in an electronically distorted falsetto voice. This is pop music after a genetic experiment went hideously wrong, but it's also highly compelling listening. Buster and Glen (apparently inspired by an astronaut and his dog) continues in the same vein - only 3 of the tracks last longer than 3 minutes on the whole album, yet each song contains enough ideas to fill entire albums in the hands of the less committed. Stand out tracks are Sinister Exaggerator, Blue Rosebuds and Hello Skinny, but almost 30 years on none of this has dated and could just as easily have been recorded last week.

The Residents have gone further out (Eskimo) and more accessible (Commercial Album) but this is probably the best introduction to their unique output outside of compilations. Buy it, lose friends and disturb people. Nothing will ever seem quite the same again.

Syzygy | 4/5 |


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