The Residents - "Meet The Residents" CD Review (MVD Audio) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Residents - "Meet The Residents" CD Review (MVD Audio)

The Residents - 'Meet The Residents' CD Review (MVD Audio)Keeping on with their ambitious reissue campaign, MVD Audio has brought back into print the original mono mix of The Residents' Meet the Residents (where the band is noted on the cover as ‘North Louisiana’s Phenomenal Pop Combo’) which was the band’s first full-length release. This album was originally issued in 1974 and allegedly sold just 40 copies in its first year of release. This album is where The Residents' musical vision was birthed as the disc contains an aural free-free explosion of Dadaist sounds and textures across the disc’s twelve tracks.

It is hard to describe the early work of The Residents to the ‘uninitiated’ as you have to listen with an open mind to hear the structure and pop sensibilities beneath the seemingly musical chaos. There are musical elements that are shared with free-form improvisational artists like Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart but there are also atonal elements that sound like a precursor to the "Industrial Music" genre that rose up a few years later. However one cuts it though, The Residents are in a class of their own.

The disc opens with a twisted deconstruction of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walking” which is the first of six songs that segue into each other to form multiple ‘movements’ of a single body of work. Most of the tracks are instrumentals that mix ‘traditional’ instruments (predominately a piano) with sound effects and tape loops along with various (often unexpected) woodwind, string and percussion instruments. Vocals, where used, are generally twisted but provide enough structure so that you can recognize the intent behind adding them to the song but the vocals never become the focal part of any of the tracks.

The band still plays "Smelly Tongues" from this disc and below is a video of a live performance from a recent show.

Showcasing their sardonic sense of humor, the band blatantly takes a ‘swipe’ at The Beatles with their Meet the Beatles parody cover (which is fully reproduced for this reissue). At the time of the LPs original issue, Capital Records allegedly threatened to sue over the cover which resulted in the band replacing The Beatles photo with suit-wearing crawfish identified as George, John, and Paul Crawfish and Ringo Starfish.

The Residents