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The Residents - Demons Dance Alone CD (album) cover


The Residents



4.21 | 35 ratings

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4 stars While clearly not representive of their body of work, DEMONS DANCE ALONE is nonetheless a fantastic addition to their catalog and an excellent entry to The Residents sound. Loosely themed on their emotions after Sep. 11th, the album tackles loss, denial and finally acceptance. The sound is way more accessible than anything they had previously done, with contemporary song structure (chorus, verse, chorus) done in a non-mocking manner. Apart from the minor key that much of the album is set in, you could almost expect to hear some tracks on commercial radio. It includes some of the 'Singing Resident's' best vocalizations and wonderful work from guest collaberator Molly Harvey, as well as interesting instrumental passages.

'Mr. Wonderful' opens the album, setting the tone for what will follow listing a litany of regrets. It's done in a simple sing-song way, yet doesn't get too saccherine. (Check out the live version to hear how this is expanded to encompass the entire theme of the album). The next track 'The Weatherman' is a stand-out. Sung by Molly Harvey, it perfectly captures the feelings of one who pines for a distant other. The chorus "I'm never needed, I'm needy" is heartbreaking yet beautiful. The following tracks of part 1 are by turns creepy and atmospheric ('Ghost Child' and 'Caring') and cool and aching ('Honey Bear' and "The Car Thief'). The first part closes with 'Neediness' which contains one of their most emotional and personal statements. Very powerful.

The second part is bookended by two aggressive Instrumental tracks ('Thundering Skies' and 'Baja') which are constructed with minimilist sounds and stop on a dime time changes and reflect the ambiguity and hostility of what comes in between. 'Mickey Macaroni', which deals wit the childishness of not moving forward, is the most typically Resident song in the group, with grating vocals and guitars done to perfection. 'Betty's Body' is most likely the most catchy thing they've ever done, yet it has a lyric pattern with strange sarts and stops, creating an interesting contradiction in sound.

The final section details the likely endings for the emotions detailed before, victim ('Beekeeper's Daughter'), predator ('Wolverines') and ultimate acceptance and transendance ('Make Me Moo', the most unlikely sound in their entire oeuvre). It closes with the final summation 'Demons Dance Alone', which plainly states that we ultimately have no control.

Altogether, I find this a fully realized work of intelligence (not that they were short on that) and unexpected maturity (which they were often blamed for lacking). After the overly ambitious, but equally rewarding, 'Wormwood' efforts and the looking back of the 'Icky Flix' project, this came as a welcome sign that they had once again re-invented themselves. That the album had such closure, dealt with regrets and looking back, and had a melancholy feel throughout, made it feel as if it were a career finale, which would have been very fitting (fortunately for us rabid devotees, they would go on with 'Animal Lover' which combines the commercial aspct of this project with the experimentation of earler efforts).

I cannot say enough to praise this album and highly recommend it to any one who wants to dip a toe into their rough waters.

DantesRing | 4/5 |


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