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The Residents - Fingerprince CD (album) cover

FINGERPRINCE

The Residents

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.75 | 49 ratings

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TCat
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 music....music 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.

TCat | 4/5 |

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