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The Residents - Title In Limbo (With Renaldo And The Loaf) CD (album) cover

TITLE IN LIMBO (WITH RENALDO AND THE LOAF)

The Residents

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.04 | 15 ratings

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TCat
4 stars So most of us know who The Residents are. But do we know who Renaldo and the Loaf are? Well for one thing, they were an actual duo who did an album together with The Residents way back in 1983. Renaldo and the Loaf is a band made up of two people just about as nutty as The Residents. The band consists of Pathologist David Janssen (Ted, the Loaf) and Architect Brian Poole (Renaldo Malpractice). They were active in the 70s and 80s. They were considered to be an avant-garde and experimental band using synthesizers to get strange sounds out of mostly acoustic instruments. Poole dropped off a demo to The Residents label Ralph Records and got signed. They decided to do an album together which they eventually called "Title in Limbo".

R&tL was on a 4-day vacation and did some recording during this time, but they had to leave. The Residents were having financial difficulties, and thought that the cheery songs would be a successful record, so they got some tapeloops from Janssen and Poole went back to sing vocals and help out. Thus, "Title in Limbo" was born. It was released after "The Mark of the Mole" and its follow up album were released and had failed quite miserably. The band was down to using cheap sounding synthesizers, so this sounded like a great idea. They recruited Snakefinger to come back and play guitar on a few tracks.

Starting with "Intro: Version", we get an interesting starter for the album. A mix of serious and ridiculous sounding music, it's brightness showed promise after The Resident's cheap sounding albums of the time. "The Shoe Salesman" is a darker sound with The Resident's singer doing a spooky whispered vocal with minimal mysterious effects. After a while, things do get a bit brighter with a plucky, repetitive loop as the lyrics and music get more goofy sounding like a perverted polka, and viola, you hear where Primus got some of their inspiration. Its quite a fun track once it gets going. "Crashing" utilizes guest vocalist Nessie Lessons for a dreamy, yet short track. It's a bit cheerful sounding, but the lyrics seem quite dark.

"Monkey and Bunny" comes next with a Devo-like repeating synth riff and a crashing percussive noise. The vocals are somewhere between monotone hollering and singing. Things get more eerie as it continues and this is reflected in the dissonant synthesizers. The middle section has a dark ambient feel, but things intensify towards the creepy ending involving a person fit for an asylum and his two pets. "Mahogony Wood" again shows the influence that The Residents had on Primus as it sounds like Primus got together with The Beatles. The song, of course, is a satire of "Norwegian Wood" done more like an upbeat dirge and even uses processed sitar effects. "Sitting on the Sand" features Snakefinger on guitar. Now you can hear the influence they have on "Idiot Flesh" and "Sleepytime Gorilla Museum" with its uncomfortably sinister guitar and warped carnival music.

Snakefinger also guests on violin on "Africa Tree". This is a strange instrumental, and of course the violin pretty much clashes with everything else. It has a playful yet dissonant mid-Eastern sound to it. "Woman's Weapon" is minimal with some strange vocals, as you would expect and a simple guitar effect on loop. "Horizontal Logic" has a cool warbly synth effect with some interesting percussion. This is one of those kooky sounding songs that you just have to love. "The Sailor Song" is the longest track on here at just over 6 minutes. A thumping bass, vibes and goofy effects drive it forward with added layers and loops increasing as it continues. Before you get to the 2 minute mark things go minimal, there is a dark organ playing with seagulls screeching around it, then real, melodic vocals start. Somebody turned on your grandma's Wurlitzer organ's percussion section again. Then the grating vocals start. Welcome back Mr. Resident's Vocal Guy. The last minute of the track gets more cheerful. The last track is "Extra: Version", again featuring Snakefinger on guitar. No one could play the dissonance like Snakefinger could. His guitar sound matched the kookiness of The Resident's music.

The entire album doesn't even add up to 40 minutes, but it is still more enjoyable than the some of the purposefully bad music that they were putting out at the time, and the addition of Renalto and the Loaf is a welcome thing in the discography at the time it was released. Anyway, it is a good album to demonstrate how different bands were inspired by their off-beat music. It has a bit of variety so that you don't get bored of the same sound. Still, its not quite as clever as some of their earlier material and also some of their more recent albums, but it is still a worthwhile album for Residents fans and also for the curious.

TCat | 4/5 |

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