The Resident: Duck Stab / Buster & Glen (CD, Cryptic, 1978)

Ah, the Residents, those lovable eyeball-headed art-rock scamps. We have here 14 short tracks of somewhat self-conscious avant-garde tomfoolery: nonsensical lyrics (I mean this at least partly in the formal sense of nonsense verse), half-sung or recited, often in a cartoonish falsetto, over squelching, belching, horn-honking synths and miscellaneous electronics doodah. It really is more chaotic and crazy than I can describe. Yet it would be wrong, I think, to see it as frivolous, or (heaven save us) wacky. There’s something decidedly dark underneath the surface here — and sometimes not that far underneath. It’s not just arty-farty larking about: it quite determinedly demented. I have to be in the right mood to listen to this, but… well, I used to own this years ago, and then I lost it, and I just bought it again, so clearly there must have been some gap in my life which I needed this to fill.

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