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The Residents The Ughs album cover
3.40 | 21 ratings | 3 reviews | 19% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Ughs (2:20)
2. The Dancing Duck (4:18)
3. Floating Down The Nile, Part 2 (5:48)
4. Squeaky Wheels (3:11)
5. The Lonely Lotus (6:12)
6. Rendering The Bacon (5:15)
7. The Horns Of Haynesville (9:58)
8. The Wondering Jew (6:04)
9. Charlie Chan (4:05)
10. In The Dark (10:22)

Total Time 56:13

Line-up / Musicians

- The Residents (anonymous)

Releases information

CD Mute (EMI) (2009)

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THE RESIDENTS The Ughs ratings distribution

(21 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

THE RESIDENTS The Ughs reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by historian9
4 stars THE RESIDENTS return to instrumental side of their early work on this album. Plenty of acoustic instruments come again, harmonica, harps, flutes, probably violins too, and I assume there is some guitar bowing involved but it's just a wild guess, I do not know how they make the sounds they make. The album is more on the ambient side, so rather than stuff like in your face songs of "Fingerprince" it's leaning more on the "Eskimo" album, but the experimentation and electric guitars distance the songs from plain tribal ambient music (although as the album starts it's more industrial but it does get pastoral later on), and silent moments are loaded with percussions (and other weird sounds) rather then monotone gusts of arctic wind so that's a plus.

Some songs bring swamp/southern/country/night atmosphere about them, like "Floating Down The Nile, Part 2 " which begins with soaring guitars but then turns into very bizarre "Eskimo"-like chants in the middle (which I found strangely catchy even though the vocals sound like "Boots" from the debut ). Other styles are reminding me of japanese folk music, "The Horns Of Haynesville" and "The Wondering Jew" for example (something they did earlier with "Japanese Watercolor" on "Commercial Album"),"The Lonely Lotus" guitar maybe plays around to be indian sounding as well; last track "In The Dark" I find very similar in structure to "The Festival Of Death" on "Eskimo", a long 10 minutes track that with drums slowly ascends to a rewarding and beautiful end with guitars and flutes. Truth be told, only the opener (just a short intro) "The Ughs" and "Charlie Chan" don't make any lasting impressions on me, everything else is great stuff.

Definitely an essential "checkpoint" album for fans as this is like nothing they did in maybe 20 years, marking maybe another change in sound for the next decade.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "The Ughs" is The Residents' 34th studio album and actually feels a lot more accessible with nowhere near as much strangeness and disturbia as "Duck Stab", "Third Reich and Roll", "Commercial Album", or "Freak Show" or "Mark of the Mole". Perhaps that is a good thing but I do enjoy the strangeness of the band and when it is given a better production and more studio trickery it detracts from the experience for me. All that is left is a lot of dissonant music and the occasional grunt or non-sensical vocal. I like the nasal Louisiana tones on other albums and the doomy synths but this album has little of that so doesn't even sound like a Residents album.

The first decent song on the album is Floating Down The Nile, Part 2, and don't ask where Part 1 got to as it could be anywhere. The Nile rhymes with Denial so could be an allegory about grief or loss, but you can never tell with these oddball eyeballs. Repeated sound sand musical motifs make up most of the song which wears out its welcome before the warbling flute chimes in. Squeaky Wheels sounds like a cart with a dicky wheel coming along. Very repetitive and quite a slog to get through. 'The Lonely Lotus' has a great squealing guitar in it and creepy violin slicing. The harmonica is a nice touch and the melody is strangely familiar; 'Love will tear us apart" from Joy Division springs to mind.

'Rendering the Bacon' has a twanging mouthbow sound making it sound like it comes from some country hick waiting to pounce on a city slicker. The creepy sound that follows is unsettling and then a percussion locks in with rather nice violin melodies. 'Hornes oh Hanynes' has a percussion and warblings along with a guttural death rattle like someone Cheyne Stoking on their death bed.

After this is the warbling of The Wondering Jew, and I have no idea either. There are some pastoral textures, birdsong, bush noises and minimalist guitars. The flute is subliminal. 'Charlie Chan' is really boring but is followed by 'In The dark' that is a native tribal percussion thing, lots or repetition but interesting. 10:22 of this is stretching the patience a bit but it ends on a mesmirising note.

A low point in Residents' extensive catalogue, that may hypnotise you to sleep, but I can manage 2 stars for the few decent songs.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Some years ago, The Residents put together some music that was supposed to be part of a new project similar to 'Eskimo' which was released way back in the 70s. This new project was called 'The Ughs!' and The Residents were going to dress up like the characters this was based on. For some reason, that idea was dropped and the basis of the music was used for a new project called 'The Voice of Midnight'. That particular project was used and released in 2007. When 2009 came around, The Residents needed some new ideas, so they revisited the original recordings and found they sounded completely different than the finished product for The Voice of Midnight, so they though, why not go back to the original 'Ughs!' Project. Thus this mostly instrumental album was released. I say mostly instrumental because, as in 'Eskimo', the vocals are done in the made- up language of the Ughs.

So, what can you expect from another release from the oddball eyeballs? Well, the unexpected is the usual answer. This unusual is made up of 10 interesting tracks, that are definitely off-kilter if you know not what you are getting into. But, now you have some idea. The music is definitely avant-ish in the same way as 'Eskimo' was. The starting track 'The Ughs' gives you a pretty good idea of what you will be hearing. People saying Ugh and other interesting noises going on is what this introductory track gives you.

'The Dancing Duck' has some quasi-chanting sounds and noises, plus a metallic instrumental sound which I have no idea how it was produced. You have flutes, chimes, and synth going on in there too, but the sound is quite tribal, and not really that bad. Where 'Eskimo' seemed almost to be an unintentional masterpiece, The Ughs gives you the feeling The Residents know what they are doing now. All of these unconventional instruments and sounds (including a processed quacking duck or something) play around a melody delivered by a flute and some other sort of tribal instrument accompanied also by tribal percussion.

'Floating Down the Nile, Pt. 2' uses a cool guitar sound that gives a sliding effect. A percussive bell rings in the background as a more traditional sounding guitar repeats the melody, and this is again repeated with both guitar styles and a violin. The tempo is dirge-like, or a slow processional march. Later, there is more tribal percussion as interesting sounds and textures are used coaxed out of traditional instruments and what-not. A tribal vocal chanting follows the percussion pattern.

'Squeaky Wheels' sounds like a melody made from . . . well, squeaky wheels. That's how it starts, but it quiets quickly with a throbbing beat and a melody from a reed instrument, a sitar and atmospheric synths. Grumbling vocals stay somewhat subdued.

'The Lonely Lotus' establishes itself with a 'hooting' sound pattern and a shrieking guitar is played. Later, other tribal sounding instruments are used, but things are kept somewhat ambient as interesting instrumental sounds take turns. After a few minutes, a rhythm is established and all of the sounds come together in a melodic theme. Then the hooting melody comes back accompanied by timpani and piano. This establishes a base for other interesting things to occur around, the influence of oriental or Indian music is obvious.

'Rendering the Bacon' begins with a low drone and soon a juice harp (or something similar) is used. Beastly sounds come in and percussion and more interesting instruments are used to establish a theme that recurs throughout the track. Towards the middle, things get more odd and minimal as odd vocal sounds and thumping come in. The thematic elements come back later with more intensity.

'The Horns of Haynesville' comes in with tribal percussion again and a high Tarzan-like squeal. More odd vocal noises are emitted. At this point, the novelty is starting to wear off as this goes on for a while, but then some unique instrumental sounds are introduced, but things remain peaceful as you hear crickets and birds in the background. A more succinct vocal melody comes in and is repeated between two vocalists, then more vocalists join and the raspy blare of a metallic sounding instrument repeats. Other chants and singing come in, but the overall feel is still somewhat peaceful even with some of the harshness of the instruments. This one meanders on too long at over 10 minutes though without much change in overall style.

'The Wondering Jew' starts out with soft atmospherics, but a sudden crash of percussion made my cat jump just as she was settling into the music. After peeling her claws out of my leg, the music starts to feel more dramatic with a synth led crescendo. But this soon quiets down to tropical sounds and a lute sounding instrument establishes a chord pattern while reeds play. Finally after 3:30, an interesting percussion pattern and mellotron take things over keeping the dramatic feel of the music.

'Charlie Chan' is an out-of-place title for this one, as it starts with a mid-eastern vibe. What is surprising is how they make layers of this strange instrument into harmonies. Processed vocals stay in the background of this mostly well-orchestrated percussive track. Processed chanting and weird vocals continue.

My cat left the room giving me an odd glare.

The last track is the 10 minute 'In the Dark'. It starts with an upbeat percussive pattern and low ebbing drones. More interesting and odd noises and textures continue. After a while, an orchestral vibe is introduced, probably produced by synths. Ominous drones and sounds of thunder follow with subdued percussion. As things continue, so do the tribal sounds and textures.

It is good to hear The Residents actually taking things seriously in the album, and it seems a lot of work and effort went into this one with the nice orchestration and use of different instruments and sounds. There is a problem in this album with some passages lasting too long, and things do sag a bit in the middle of the album. But, for the most part, interest in what is going on does tend to come back in the end. The album is surprisingly good, seriously experimental, and well produced. Yeah the sounds at times can be comical, but there is a personality to this album and to the 'culture' the band has made up that makes you feel like they really came close to another masterpiece like 'Eskimo'. Like I said though, it is easy to let your interest slip on some of the longer passages, and in places where not much happens in the music. But I have to say that this is one of The Residents better albums that is more on the serious side of music and makes you think that maybe they really did know what they were doing all along.

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