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The Residents - Coochie Brake CD (album) cover


The Residents



4.01 | 22 ratings

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4 stars Excellent album by Chuck, Bob and Carlos, with Randy being allegedly absent from this album (and Carlos has left since then). Although I heard they gave out these names or nick names of themselves on an earlier tour, it's nice to get in touch with THE RESIDENTS more closely, their most emotional and personal high point for me being the "Demons Dance Alone" album, not that they didn't release anything good after it.

This album is about their past; basically, as the legend of THE RESIDENTS goes, before coming to San Francisco and experimentation with music and other media, they were living in Louisiana (that's at least the first incarnation of the band and since the first unofficial LP in 1971 who knows how many of them changed around). All of the music on this album is inspired by that life in Louisiana, more specifically, the nights on which young RESIDENTS hung out in swamps around bonefires (Coochie Brake being one of cypress swamps in Louisiana). Imagine all the sounds you would hear at such gatherings, with some emphasis on calming nature around you, some dudes just joking around with creepy stories , and then throw in some guitars, tribal instruments and chants of all sorts, with a few industrial overtones as well. It might sound a bit complicated but it's really good, rich in instruments, sometimes noise as well, but it all flows nicely not trying to throw you of by being dissonant, it just keeps delivering this creepy atmosphere of those swam gatherings. It might be repetitive for some, but to me it was varied enough as THE RESIDENTS weren't afraid to latch onto a catchy melody here and there and make something charming out of it (song "Bitter Bitter" is like a tribal leader speaking over grunge guitar). There are voices as well, mostly in Spanish but they don't dominate the music, sometimes more in spoken word and I don't know what they are about, so there might be a whole new meaning behind the songs after some time when they get translated. Actually some yelling, chanting, whispering and such are used too and they fit in well, never really going back to the old avantgarde tribal days of "Eskimo" but to a modern sonic landscape ; I had a bit of trouble of finding an example of a band who produced songs in this manner, and this album had me thinking actually of RADIOHEAD's "King Of Limbs", and the tracks off of it, like "Feral" and the like which I think it comes close in comparison, being for me halfway between less demanding but still weird background(-ish) music and experimentation.

The bonus disc is quite an feat as well, "Lying Horse Rock" with some narration about old gangs and old legends (in English); almost 20 minutes long "West & Kembrell" though is just pure amazing, it's like "Festival Of Death" transported into these dark creepy nights in swamps that the rest of the album layed down, played by tribesmen on drugs. More exciting than any song before it, featuring a lot of buld-ups, break-outs and just genuine freak outs on electronic and acoustic instruments, especially percussions. Also there are singing children in one "chorus" (something at that point draws me to the intro music of the Beetlejuice cartoon, but I think it's just voodoo magic starting to effect me) which I would never expect on THE RESIDENTS record, serving as a backing vocal of sorts in that world music way that for example MIKE OLDFIELD used a lot. What I'm saying is that the limited bonus disc is an excellent addition to the album for that song so it's definitely worth checking it out.

historian9 | 4/5 |


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