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The Residents - The River of Crime: Episodes 1-5 CD (album) cover


The Residents



2.44 | 17 ratings

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2 stars This is an unusual album even for such a notorious 'group' of misfits. (The scare quotes are there to indicate my suspicion that The Residents aren't an actual group anymore, and likely haven't been for some time. This one sure sounds like a one-man project.)

To begin with, it isn't a musical album at all, but a collection of what sound like radio theatre pieces. Each of the five tracks is a separate episode, and each episode opens with identical theme music and spoken introduction, before continuing the saga of a troubled young sociopath, obsessed with violent crimes and criminal case histories, who imagines himself becoming a magnet for trouble. Don't expect any songs (there aren't any), just a lot of scripted first-person narration and character monologues, all of it spoken in that now all-too familiar adenoidal Louisiana twang.

Sure, there's background music throughout, but it's only that: incidental background music to the story itself. A second CD actually isolates the music tracks, in an abbreviated arrangement, thirty minutes shorter than Disc One. In this format it works well enough, but unlike the full broadcast it doesn't exactly encourage active listening. The music could easily have been (and probably was) played by a single person on a small array of keyboards and samplers, which again fuels my theory that at this stage the anonymous band had been reduced to a single Resident.

As radio theatre the production is impeccable. But as a novelty album (be it Avant-Prog of Post- Rock or whatever) it probably won't be played more than once.

Neu!mann | 2/5 |


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