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3 stars I want to give this effort by the infamous quartet four stars, but in truth,this sadly can only muster a three star rating. This lp was never one of my favorites,but it is early RESIDENTS and highly experimental,esp.when considering the release date.Comparisons to other groups are useless,since there is only one RESIDENTS. So to be fair we must try to compare this to other RESIDENTS albums,The sound on this one is a bit thin compared to other RESIDENTS releases.The concept(which I am sure is present somewhere) is a bit obtuse,much like the music itself. Bizarre by any standards.But very listenable and enjoyable.The COMMERICAL ALBUM and MARK OF THE MOLE are years away,but the much better THIRD REICH AND ROLL is released this same year.This one is not as good as NOT AVAILABLE,THIRD REICH AND ROLL or ESKIMO.BUT,it does rate better than MARK OF THE MOLE,DISKOMO or THE TUNES OF TWO CITIES.Listen with care!
Report this review (#50041)
Posted Tuesday, October 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Watch out this record! Fingerprince is one of the very classic THE RESIDENTS record and one of their masterpieces. As they define it, this proggressive-bunny-hop album is divided in two sections (three, if we conider the Babyfingers EP) corresponding to both sides of the record. The first one is a collection of "simple" songs, as a curcle stanrting and ending in "You Yes Yes Yes", with great songs and interludes among them. Side B contains the outstanding suite "Six Things to a Cycle", one of the best works on all their career; not to miss the work on perecussion, absolutely incredible! Weirdy record with lot of inventive playing, an unbeatable record impossible to be conceived by anyone but THE RESIDENTS.

Avantgarde on the top: 5 stars, althoguh many listeners won´t agree or will even dislike it.

p.s. Babyfingers, the EP that appeared in some editions and completed the work, is similar in conception as Fingerprince, a side with short songs and side B with a long song, "Walter Westinghouse", a true classic in his music and has been played live many times in different arrangements. Although tis EP is quite good in itself, it´s not worth buying it unless you are a completionist of the band

Report this review (#127623)
Posted Thursday, July 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars I own both the LP and the CD of this album. This review is for the CD version which includes the "Babyfingers" EP, that contained Walter Westinghouse, my favorite song on the disk.

Coming after the delicious but abrasive "Third Reich 'N Roll", this album demostrated a complete change in the Residents' sound. The songs are mush easier to listen to than the previous albums, and are an example of the minimalistic, but highly experimental sound that they would feature for much of the next two decades, and more.

The album begins with the eerie You Yesyesyes, a song that sticks in my head long after each listen. Of particular note is Godsong, a biblically accurate depiction of the Christian version of the god, with hilarious lyrics like:

God never really did like man anyway At least not after they started walking aroundOn their hind leg(s) And talking on the telephone Of course poor God's point of view wasn't easy now (to) understand He had invented man from dead things At that time there were no grave yards to rob So He had been forced to use dead worms, some sea weed That had laid out on the beach for quite a while.

But the best song is the hypnotic Walter westinghouse, from the above mentioned "Babyfingers" EP. This is a wonderful, weird, electonic piece, containing a bizarre conversation between Walter (Does he dig tunes?) and his wife.

Report this review (#322200)
Posted Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars No one seems to know if this was album number three, four or five due to the weird release schedule of the Residents. Replete with spooky cover, this is the Residents at their near best just as you'd expect from the mid 70's. I'm always surprised that this one is overlooked in the Residents catalogue of madness. It's right up there with 'Meet the Residents', 'Duck Stab' and 'Unavailable'.

'Fingerprince' is guaranteed to leave you feeling either queasy or very annoyed. That's the thing with the Residents - you either love 'em or hate 'em. I own many a strange record but I'd probably have to admit that the Residents - for seven years, between '73 & '79 - were the weirdest band on the planet.

'Tourniquet of Roses' has the added bonus of vocals by a drunk 'Barney' from the Simpsons - this always raises a smile. It's also the only tune with drums other than percussion on the 18 minute 'Six Things to a Cycle.' Basically it's a bit like listening to a maniacal episode of the 'Muppet Show' where everything sounds out of sync. It's off key and deliberate from the first note.

'Six Things to a Cycle' itself is the one tune where you actually feel like you're being hypnotised by Derwin Brown. Off key and off kilter but played with conviction and utterly absorbing throughout. It leaves me bewildered every time.

A continuously entertaining disc from the masters of the psychotic and unbalanced. Dense in sound but playful and stupid at the same time. I love it! God knows what any of it means - the lyrics are completely mental, but it's a truly great album and should be heard by anyone looking for something VERY different.

Report this review (#421799)
Posted Thursday, March 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars The initial concept behind the fourth recorded (but third released) album from The Residents may have been ahead of its time, but only accidentally. It was planned as a three-sided vinyl LP (yes, such oddities did exist), but one-third of the music was amputated to make it fit on a conventional single disc. Only after the arrival of digital CD technology would the full set be heard as originally intended.

But at any length it's a somewhat schizophrenic effort, as might be expected from a group of such loveable nut jobs, with contrasting musical faces looking in two very different directions. The shorter songs anticipate the "Duck Stab" sessions and the much later "Commercial Album" of twisted pop music mutations ("March de la Winni" and "Bossy" each clock in at almost exactly sixty seconds). It's a chance to hear The Residents unburdened by any heavy thematic baggage, with the best examples ("Godsong" is a personal favorite) somehow managing to be funny, affecting, and oddly thoughtful all at once.

The flipside of the original LP, devoted entirely to the multi-part, 18-minute "Six Things to a Cycle", belongs in a different asylum altogether. The piece was (supposedly) composed as a modern ballet score, and showed The Residents flexing their compositional muscles not unlike the 97-pound weakling in a vintage Charles Atlas bodybuilding ad. The band wasn't as much fun when their collective thinking caps were screwed on so tight, but the full opus sounds more effective in retrospect, despite an obvious instrumental debt to FRANK ZAPPA (lots of tuned percussion, so forth). It may in fact be the best example of their esoteric "Theory of Phonetic Organization", looking forward to the masterful soundscapes of the "Eskimo" album a few short years later.

In the meantime their primitive musicianship was showing signs of improvement, as well as their recording skills. But the band still preferred to sound like barely competent amateurs: imagine Christian Vander's MAGMA, populated by clever toddlers. Guest star Philip Lithman (aka SNAKEFINGER) makes his presence known, emphatically in the album opener "You Yesyesyes", sneaking in a phrase from the Anton Karas zither theme to "The Third Man", here played in Lithman's distinctive lunatic guitar style.

Bottom line: it's a lopsided album, providing a fascinating glimpse of The Residents in transition, just prior to donning their iconic eyeball-head tuxedos.

Report this review (#1054857)
Posted Sunday, October 6, 2013 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars A 1977 early Residents album is an intriguing listening experience. Snakefinger's guitar is here and that's a good start for "Fingerprince". There's a lot of brass instruments and the voices are audible and legible. The CD version features a bunch of extra songs that were actually from the EP "Baby Fingers". Originally intended as a three sided LP the project somehow was interfered with so this CD kind of gives it to us the way it was intended. Side one has short songs, side two has a lengthy epic in 6 parts and side 3 is an EP.

You Yesyesyes (3:00) opens the album with quirky synths and toy trumpets. Home Age Conversation (2:02) has oddball warblings on vocals, and repeated keyboard phrases. Godsong (3:42) is very weird, phased vocals chant and a rhythm of dissonant synths and brass try to make sense of it.

The short ones follow with instrumental March De La Winni (0:59), and minimalist chanting Bossy and (1:02), one minute movies really signalling the forthcoming "Commercial Album" in 1980 that was all songs less than a minute like a bunch of ads. Its amazing what you can slot into one minute; Residents are masters of this.

Boo Who? (2:49) is a quirky thing with boo hoo as the main chant and bizarre vocals in the verses; too monotonous to return to. Tourniquet Of Roses (3:14) has a jazzy sound, agonising brass, tortured synth and strangled vocals.

From "Butterfingers" EP is the addition of Monstrous Intro/Death In Barstow (2:03), Melon Collie Lassie (2:54), Flight Of The Bumble Roach (2:13), and Walter Westinghouse (7:56). Monstrous Intro/Death In Barstow is very different to the other album with a more lo fi minimalist vibe and thin drawling vocals. Melon Collie Lassie has more thin vocals and a deep rumbling bass synth that reminds me of the Residents albums to follow in the 80s. .

The real highlights of the EP are Flight Of The Bumble Roach, which is a manic demented voice over a rumbling and monotonous synth sequencer. This is highly experimental but all the more endearing as a stand out. Walter Westinghouse is an excellent track, perhaps the best on the whole album, and the Louisiana accent is a feature and lyrics making fun of Elvis; a target of The Residents along with The Beatles. This is an 8 minute song so has a lot of various sections. There's whispering, clinking, deep synths, loud strange nasal vocals, minimalist instruments, unnerving melodies, dark nursery rhymes, quirky humour, nonsensical lyrics and various characters; sounds like a Residents song to me. The last two minutes are almost unlistenable.

Six Things To A Cycle was originally in 6 parts on the vinyl but is put together as a 17:50 epic on the CD. It starts with innocent birds and percussion, then a scream that unnerves you. Lots of bells and tinkerings follow, and I am already totally lost and we still have 15 minutes to go. The bells tinker away for quite a while and are joined by odd chants. This is like an endurance test until we get to an ascending droning noise; a melancholy sound. It sounds like hitting glasses filled with levels of water with a triangle striker, and a sad synth played in another room somewhere. After a while this lengthy piece is too much for the ears and I am well and truly over it before the 10 minute mark. It ends with a repeated synth brass motif and it just goes on and on ad infinitum.

'You yesyesyes again' closes the album, bookending the thing as a kind of cycle. Overall this album is very inconsistent with some great moments and others you wish had not made it to the final cut. It is what it is and like most Residents albums is a hit and miss affair. I can manage 3 stars for some of the better material and the addition of the EP but this CD is quite a slog to get through in its entirety.

Report this review (#1071647)
Posted Monday, November 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars The third full album in The Residents discography is strange.....but since it's The Residents, then it's actually normal to be strange. In reality, if it could be called normal then it would have been the strangest album in their discography. So, just forget what I just said.

The music here was recorded between the years 1974-76 and released in 1977. It was supposed to be a double album but with only 3 sides. The record company decided it would be to costly to produce an album like that, so 4 songs were removed from the track list to make this into a single album, then in 1979, the EP "Babyfingers" was released and contained those missing 4 tracks. When the album was reissued as a CD in 1988, the original tracklist was restored. I'm going to review the single disc vinyl version here.

The first side consisted of the first 7 tracks as listed here, then as the 8th track had "You Yesyesyes Again" as the final track on that side. This group of songs consists of short songs. The first one spotlights Snakefinger who was the bands "resident" guitarist. It features an odd hook as the driving force of the song. As all of the songs on this first side, they are all quite simple anti-pop songs. Listening to these songs, you can hear foretellings of what the band Primus would sound like. There are definitely hints of Les Claypool throughout these songs. After the first track, the music remains quite minimalistic for the most part, which is not what Primus would sound like, but the sound they would adopt is more the cynical and satirical sound of The Residents, even the vocal delivery is similar. Track 8, which is a more "acoustical" (for want of a better term) reprise of the 1st track with a warped revisit of the strange hook and the addition of percussion similar to the ballet/suite that makes up the 2nd side of the album.

So, side 2 stays with an odd sound like you suspect. But in reality, it is quite different from the first side. This is made up of a six-part suite which was actually a modern ballet soundtrack of sorts. This music is very percussive with some electronics thrown in to create an anti melody. The Residents continue to create what sounds like the opposite of popular that could be considered easy listening if it wasn't so avant garde. The suite is very much a foreshadowing of the masterpiece to come called "Eskimo" and it is interesting to hear how that sound began before it's maturity. I don't know if there is a better example of anti-pop than this. The music on this suite is much better composed than anything on the first half of the album, and these contrasts make the entire album quite interesting.

This entire album is not an easy listen, but if you realize that this music is the opposite of popular music, then it makes a little more sense, albeit a very warped sense. I find something intriguing and enticing about this music. It is strange though it isn't completely inaccessible either. But if you play it for a group of listeners that have not been warned, you will get weird looks and possibly banned from the people who consider themselves normal. So be warned. If you like this, then keep it to yourself. It's safer that way. In the meantime, I still think it's an excellent form of early avant-prog music that gives you an idea where future bands would get some of their inspiration. Most Residents fans are used to being fans in secret anyway, so don't feel bad, you are among geniuses like Mr. Claypool, Mike Patton, and the like.

Report this review (#1370551)
Posted Thursday, February 19, 2015 | Review Permalink

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