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Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica CD (album) cover

TROUT MASK REPLICA

Captain Beefheart

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.75 | 339 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

AndyJ
2 stars Captain Beefheart's 'Trout Mask Replica' has to this date probably been the most difficult album I've ever listened to. Considered something of an infamous album I was keen to check it out. I had the chance to listen to it for the first time a few months ago while visiting a friend. I was browsing through his rather large CD collection and I spotted it, tucked away in the corner. The moment I pulled it out and held it up for him I swear I heard a slight groan from him, followed by a wry smile and a chuckle.

At first I was optimistic. Yes, the opening of the album is pretty wacky and a bit discordant, but then so is the opening first moments of Close To The Edge. At any moment some structure would kick, there would be a hook and I'd be drawn in. I waited, and waited some more. And then it dawned on me that this was really 'it'. Very little structure, at least in the classical sense, no hooks, few melodies, bizarre lyrics and vocal style from Mr Beefheart. It honestly sounded like some very young children had been set loose in an abandoned music shop and told to 'go nuts'. At this point I realized exactly why this album was regarded as an infamous recording of the 1960's. My friend joked to me as we sat and listened that this would probably all make much more sense if we were high on drugs. As it was we were both stone cold sober drinking coffee!

I turned the album off about 2/3rds of the way through and put some Led Zeppelin on just to un-fry our brains. But I was left feeling intrigued still, and also a little bit confused. Which record label had green lighted the recording of this album? So I spent a bit of time on the Internet reading about this album, and I looked at the Prog Archive reviews for this album and was surprised, to say the least, at the overwhelming high scores that this album has achieved. I felt angry - not at the other reviewers, but at myself. What was I missing - why did this album just sound like discordant noise to my ears but for other's it is a masterpiece of music?

Since that evening a few months ago I have tried to listen to this album again. I cannot listen to all 28 tracks in one sitting, which probably tells you something about my feelings towards this album. There are some moments on the album such as in the track 'Hair Pie: Bake 2' where there is some structure and I find myself tapping my feet, but the overriding sense I feel when listening to this album is "I'd rather be listening to something else".

It would be harsh to give this album 1 star, after all a lot of people swear by it as a classic album. I've come to the conclusion myself that this album most definitely is not for me, but it deserves at least 2 stars.

AndyJ | 2/5 |

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