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The Residents - Mark Of The Mole CD (album) cover

MARK OF THE MOLE

The Residents

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

2.93 | 33 ratings

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stefro
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Possibly the least accessible album by one of the least accessible groups in the history of rock music, 'Mark Of The Mole' finds avant-garde jokers The Residents in dark, dissonant and disturbing form, spinning part of epic tale(which would continue on several follow-up albums though ultimately remain unfinished) regarding two warring factions of mole-like creatures who, after an unspecified natural disaster, find themselves forced into an uneasy co-existence with predictably disastrous consequences. Filled with a freakish palette of harsh, synthesized sounds and featuring a notable lack of the groups trademark whacked-out humour, 'Mark Of The Mole' would find the group arriving at something resembling a transitional point, the rough, lo-fi, experimental edge of the group's 1970's output replaced by a slicker, hi-tech sheen thanks to the decision to employ the latest technology. This would see the album become a thoroughly divisive piece amongst the groups hardcore support, thanks mainly to the extreme nature of the album's content, and it's easy to see why. The music(or lack of) reflects the story's fragmented narrative with an almost demented sense of foreboding, whilst actual melodies and conventional songs are in even shorter supply than usual, making this one tough listen. Finishing track 'Final Confrontation' offers a glimmer of hope, with a slightly(and I mean slightly) less abrasive tone than it's predecessors, yet ultimately this a grinding, deliberately unpleasant experience. The Residents best work ('Meet The Residents', 'Duck Stab') was always nuts, yet the group's abstract approach was usually tempered by knowing humour and deceptively-catchy melodies that cleverly mocked the conventions of mainstream rock music, elements sorely lacking here. Fans of the group and avant-garde enthusiasts might find this boundary-wrecking album all very fascinating, and it takes a special kind of talent to make surrealistic sonic innovators such as Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart seem mainstream by comparison, yet anyone in search of actual entertainment is advised to stay well clear. The equivalent of a(very) bad LSD trip, 'Mark Of The Mole' is an ugly, jagged record that takes the listener to some very dark places indeed.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

stefro | 2/5 |

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