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Frank Zappa - Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



3.53 | 230 ratings

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2 stars This ship came to early for me.

This was my first Zappa album which I had saved up all the money I'd found on the floor or stolen from others to pay for and it was a massive disappointment to my naive, 10 year old self. Definitely not a good album to start discovering the intricacies of Frank Zappa's work. 'One Size Fits All' or 'Freak Out!' might have worked better.

However, time (by time I mean a decade of fermenting in my head) has reaped dividend, although not a great amount. The album contains Zappa's biggest 'hit', 'Valley Girl' which is indeed entertaining and easy on the ears. Well, aside from Moon Unit's vocals. That tone of voice reallllly annoys me like soooo much, I know that's the point but I can't get away from the fact it pisses me off.

For me the stand-out track is the title track, 'Drowning Witch'. After the initial foray around the lyrics the complexity of musicianship is outstanding. I've not heard a Xylophone being played in such a way! Well, aside from on all the other occasions the Xylophone takes the lead on Zappa albums. That's just how Zappa writes music. It's totally different and I love it.

'Envelopes' I don't understand. It seems like just an extension of 'Drowning Witch' and I don't understand why it exists in it's own right. Still it's an interesting piece to listen to. The way all the instruments play the exact same thing towards the end really is captivating but that's the only real highlight of the song.

That is until the song turns into 'Teenage Prostitute' which is a laugh. Great perfected execution and hilarious lyrics. A great little track.

I hate to generalise but the other two tracks, 'No Not Now' and 'I Come From Nowhere' are so-so. Nothing really special about them, just more of the same really. The album as a whole could've done with some more variation like we heard on earlier albums such as the vocal interludes on 'We're Only In It For The Money'. Plus the total lack of any brass depresses me. A Zappa album without any brass is a bit of a waste really. (That being said, Bobby Martin is credited with playing the sax in the sleeve notes but he didn't play it hard enough for me to notice/remember.)

So on the whole, Excellence is an island in the Ocean of Yeah-maybe.


Canterzeuhl | 2/5 |


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