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The Residents - Arkansas CD (album) cover

ARKANSAS

The Residents

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

2.74 | 3 ratings

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TCat
3 stars This is probably considered an EP since the run time is around 34 minutes. But it is more than just that. It is a collection of outtakes and alternate versions of songs recorded during "The Bunny Boy" sessions. I won't go into the story of "The Bunny Boy" other than to say it is a strange story based on a person looking for his brother that got lost on the island of Patmos or something like that. The entire thing is based upon an internet adventure that The Residents produced, and the music on this album and The Bunny Boy album are from those serialized internet adventure.

The music on it's own does little to explain the story. But it is still interesting music as far as The Residents go. Thankfully, there is more to it than just the strange electronic instrumentation of earlier Resident's albums, though there is still quite a bit of it here, at least it's not as cheesy as some of the earlier albums. There is a lot of strange singing, and a lot of it has to do with characterization. Simply purchasing this EP and the album that is based on will only confuse the listener and make them wonder what it is all about.

Those of you that have heard The Bunny Boy album will realize that the songs on here are in the same style as the regular album, and depending on whether you like that album or not will determine whether you like this collection of rarities. The outtakes are good enough to have been included on the album and are actually used in the show that was performed when touring was done for the entire multimedia experience and the alternative versions are pretty much as interesting as the original versions.

This series of work by The Residents, which also includes a video and another album based on the series, is a very good collection of music and it makes a lot more sense when you know where it is coming from. It is also one of the better Residents projects. However, it is good to go into it knowing that each part of the work comes from a greater whole and is not an end in of itself. I suppose if you like avant prog enough, you might enjoy the weirdness of it all anyway. I have to say I really enjoy this album and the other things connected to it all. It is not as annoying as say "God in 3 Persons" or some of the work put out around that period. The instrumentation is much better. The sound of cheap synths and bad electronic work is mostly gone.

The music is strange, mostly electronic, but with real instruments added in from time to time. The music is far from ordinary, even strange and very dark at times, at others it is satirical and light hearted. And another nice thing about it all is The Residents actually seem to take the project seriously, even if the story is kind of kooky.

However, I am afraid this one will probably only be attractive to fans. I can boost this up from 2 to 3 stars, because even taken out of context, I still find the music enjoyable and interesting. But, if you are interested in this project, I would suggest you get "The Bunny Boy" before you get this one. This EP is just more of the same, and if you like the companion album, then you will like this too.

TCat | 3/5 |

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