Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
The Residents - Duck Stab CD (album) cover


The Residents



3.67 | 17 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Ralph reverses the charges on a call of nature

'Laughing Song' - One of the most notable features of the Residents' sonic arsenal is their ability to warp recognizable timbres obtained from one source into those originating from another e.g. there is some conventional bowed articulation on the accompaniment, but it seems to come from the brass, as though the horn players had swapped instruments with the violinists. Is this 'acoustic modeling' at least 20 years BC? (before computers) Foghorn Leghorn collaborating with Kraftwerk on a version of The Laughing Policeman wouldn't sound anywhere near half as weird as this.

'Blue Rosebuds' - The melodic shape sends an echo that Siouxsie & the Banshees may have picked up for The Staircase Mystery but the effect is much more insidious and paradoxically, more powerful. Where Siouxsie sprints screaming to lance you through the heart, the Residents creep up stealthily from the rear and slit your throat. Right in the middle of this song and from out of the ether comes a piercing narrative that may, in all likelihood be that of a redneck Lizzie Borden:

Your lichen covered corpuscles are filthy as a fist, Infection is your finest flower mildewed in the mist

(Prosecution rests your honor...and keep her away from me)

'Constantinople' - An increasingly agitated imperative from a Louisiana raised William Burroughs becomes truly compulsive when he is joined by backing vocals that seem to emanate from the horns of the brass section?. (Like everything on Duckstab it's hard to describe without appearing frivolous)

The bass texture employed on this record is similar to that of Can or the Beatles, with a muted attack and short decay, which attests to the Resident's continuing obsession with all manner of 60's conceits and psychedelia in general.

'The Booker Tease' - After some 'spy movie' fuzz guitar and a beautiful 'Stax' horn section rejoinder we meet what approximates a saxophone might sound like if it was made to feedback without the use of distortion (as daft as that sounds, but I'm thinking of a Coltrane 'sheets of sound' thang y'all)

'Bach is Dead' - This was the first Residents song that ever 'clicked' for me, but as for the reasons, I cannot even begin to guess. If someone says it's just rubbing your finger across a wet window pane with some plinky toy piano and car horns, they'd be right. But I still think it's beautiful (Dunno...)

'Sinister Exaggerator' - The Mechanoid percussion and heavily modulated guitar steal a march on the Joy Division/Cure axis that was to come, before we meet again those 'bowed brass' players in anticipation of a drawling nursery rhyme being taught TO the kidnapped parents by the child?

Elvis and His Boss' - Mr Presley looms large in the Residents universe. (like them he is from the southern states of the USA) A dissonant 'Stylophone' lead takes over the role of the traditional rock'n'roll guitar in this kaleidoscopic Burroughs 'cut-up' that threatens to collapse completely before the end. If Harry Partch had designed his instruments to be used for rockabilly, they would have found a home here, a place where John Coltrane can casually step up to the mike with...a kazoo?

I would imagine that swathes of the Prog community would be horrified by the Residents and probably dismiss their output as infantile. Although I can understand this reaction, I think it stems from a lot of people's failure to get past the 'cartoon' surface of their music and lose out as a result. I have to be in the right 'mood' to listen to them, but that says more about me than is a slight on them.

This 16 minute EP from 1978 is the perfect running time for a first exposure to this bizarre group, as listening to the Residents should be approached as if you were negotiating a cold bath:

(Quick in, and Quick Out)

ExittheLemming | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this THE RESIDENTS review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.