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Frank Zappa - The Mothers of Invention: One Size Fits All CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



4.30 | 1074 ratings

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3 stars ZAPPA and THE MOTHERS continue to explore rhythmically intricate arrangements and observational absurdities on One Size Fits All. Similar in scope and effect to "Roxy & Elsewhere", there are complex songs that feature George Duke's dexterous vocals and Ruth Underwood's dazzling percussion ("Inca Roads", "Florentine Pogen"), comparatively conventional rock songs fettered by Frank's vocals and unleashed by his brilliant guitar work ("Po-jama People"), and even a few throwbacks to the band's semi-classical posturing ("Sofa Nos. 1 & 2" and the epic "Andy"). The supporting cast ranks with the best Frank ever had, allowing him to fade into the background on occasion and showcase the estimable talents of Duke, Underwood, Tom Fowler and Chester Thompson. In fact, it's perhaps in this incarnation that THE MOTHERS came closest to the egalitarian accomplishments of an actual band. Compositionally, however, the album finds ZAPPA at a crossroads; clearly wishing to show off the band's technical skill on the one hand, but at the same time attracted to rock and its relatively limited structures. As a result, songs like "San Ber'dino" are odd amalgams of the two styles that find ZAPPA cramming complex arrangements into the crevices of a semi-conventional rock song, like a composer determined to use the cannons at his disposal.

One Size Fits All remains a challenging album -- the last to resurrect his jazz/rock/classical tendencies for some time (the Lather project notwithstanding) -- and despite the lack of a recognizable hit it's as essential as anything from this period.

daveconn | 3/5 |


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