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The Residents - Meet The Residents CD (album) cover

MEET THE RESIDENTS

The Residents

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.02 | 106 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars ...so dangerously different and ferociously original.

The Residents debut is something of a curio and I am not sure if anyone actually got it. I was introduced to Residents inimitable oddball style way after this so this was a weird one to return to. A 1974 Avant album is always a treat. The way that Residents deconstruct such well known songs such as 'Boots' and makes them unrecognizable is a delight. This is something they would later explore on the delightful "Third Reich N' Roll".

The songs, if you call them as such, are mostly short little ditties of weirdness with some of the darkest humour you are likely to encounter. 'Numb Erone' is a raucous piano blaster that I have heard a few times but for me the real highlight is 'Guylum Bardot' that merges into 'Breath and Length'. The bizarre music is wonderful along with those crazy vocals. 'Consuelo's Departure' comes and goes with lots of swooshes and off kilter instrumentation of atonal jazz sax and burbling vocal intonations. 'Smelly Tongues' is very spacey inexplicable musical shapes, with twangy strings, sploshing percussion and a droning bassline and a chant "smelly tongues looked just as they felt". In other words pure Residents fun.

The piano solo follows of 'Rest Aria' with enough chimes and dissonance to make it interesting for a while. It is one of the longest tracks but soon loses it's tedium with some off the wall wind instrumentation and an insistent triangle. The blast at the end breaks things up and especially the sax solo.

'Skratz' is next back to the shorter and far superior compositions. I think Residents work best in small doses as the ideas are greater in short bursts on this debut. This features low end vocals and anti-musical figures as we hear about dirty fingernails scratzing. The lyrics are incoherent and unfathomable; "Ann ran her tongue along the ridges by the Gulf, Thoughts slipped into valleys, Concealed by dense Mexicali underbush hair, A flag ran up his pole, And waved firmness with wings."

'Spotted Pinto Bean' is another longer track, with female choral vocals and a kind of lunatic ballroom sound. The lyrics are nuts; "Spotted Pinto Bean is leaving, Leaving on a midnight streaming, Tears behind him all the way."

This is quite an unsettling track with ghostly voices and creepy atmospherics. It gets more bizarre as it continues but I like the odd weepy female voices and distant broadway feel. The stormy rain comes down at the end and it is almost capturing a film noir atmosphere. It soon wears out its welcome though and I longed for it to end.

'Infant Tango' follows with wah-wah bass, nice change from all the piano. The brass is as usual off tune and the vocals are Louisiana accented like most early Residents. Some wah wah guitar follows that appeals to me more than the over abundance of keyboards. This is one of the best tracks and it builds creepily with high pitch effects threatening to explode. Jazz brass blasts and sporadic drumming patterns and the irregularity of the guitars are quite well executed over the polyrhythmic shapes.

'Seasoned Greetings' is next returning to staccato piano banging and some rather nice brass embellishments. Experimental percussion follows with pots and pans and kitchen utensils. 'N-Er- Gee (Crisis Blues)' is the longest track at 7:16, and it is the Residents at their most outrageous. It is an irregular collage of sounds that is as disconcerting as anything heard from the band since. It moves into some chanting and psych prog instrumentation until a xylophone chimes a ditty and then there are brass blasts before some percussion accompanies. At this stage all bets are off, this is asylum music and completely out of the box. The real appeal is that this is so dangerously different and ferociously original. It is to be either admired or discarded altogether, there is no middle ground. At 8 minutes in, the track switches to a droning monotone chant with barber shop quartet harmonies.

So ends the debut for the irreverent Residents. They really challenge music itself and will certainly not appeal to all tastes. But for the brave this is a real ear opener, nowhere near as creepy as albums to come, and I found this to be an entertaining romp; quite a lot of fun in the interim.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |

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