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Frank Zappa - Uncle Meat CD (album) cover

UNCLE MEAT

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.16 | 351 ratings

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Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I had been struggling with Frank Zappa's large body of work despite the Mothers era being very appealing to me. I had yet to find that Zappa album that just gave that musical euphoria like no other album. In comes UNCLE MEAT, and after track two, I ended up flushing my expectations down the drain.

Let's give UNCLE MEAT credit where credit is due, and those are the pieces where Frank decided there would be something resembling music. Most of it is in the jazz-rock realm that Zappa was mining around this time (think HOT RATS), and the big unearthing is the mammoth ''King Kong'' jam that concludes the album. It's very jam-based like ''Gumbo Variations'' and ''The Grand Wazoo'', but more stable than either of those tracks which makes the pieces (the innovative sounds over the top are really the sprinkles). Two other big jazz tracks are the two that are more in the free-er direction in ''Nine Types of Industrial Pollution'' and ''Ian Underwood Whips it Out''.

There are much more bite-sized nuggets of fun. Some stem from remnants of early Mothers work like ''Sleeping in a Jar'', ''Electric Aunt Jemima'' and ''The Air''. Others make more music progress like the ''Uncle Meat Theme'', ''Legend of the Golden Arches'', ''Dog Breath'' and any reprises/variations.

Here comes the big gag reflex; those little dialogue/humour tracks. Why are these necessary? The only good I find in them is wearing that skip button on my CD player's remote control. I've found no musical or humour value in any of them; it's like putting five versions of ''Are You Hung Up?'' at random throughout the album. That alone drive me bonkers, but swift kick is the UNCLE MEAT movie in there, and I've lost patience. I know it's a bonus track and many reviewers discount it, but in short, nobody wants to LISTEN to a movie, they want to watch one. Even though the film never came into fruition, why forty minutes of?THIS?

These irritants are quite severe. Even then, UNCLE MEAT is a jumble of what Frank Zappa had been and where he might go. While there are great tracks, it feels more like a compilation of new songs than a bold new Zappa album.

Sinusoid | 3/5 |

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