Saturday, October 16, 2010
The Residents, DUCK STAB
Ralph, 1978; reissued several times, most recently by Mute; available
14 tracks, 35:07
Let's face it, if you've kept up with me thus far, there's a 99.9% chance you know who these guys are. Which is funny, since the general public literally doesn't know who the members are! Anyways, the first seven tracks on this album were originally released as a 7" EP; later the same year, DUCK STAB was paired with the aborted BUSTER & GLEN EP to make a fourteen-track LP. Initially called DUCK STAB/BUSTER & GLEN, most reissues since have simply used DUCK STAB (and I hope this is the last time I write that title in this review!). This is from the stage in the Residents' early years when they primarily used synths for instrumentation. Musically, these tracks were the catchiest material the group had ever unleashed. This particular album shares a lot with minimal synth and electro-no wave artists such as Fad Gadget and Dark Day. Tracks such as "Weight-Lifting Lulu" and "Blue Rosebuds" are based around two or so synths at a time, accompanied by the singing Resident's unmistakable vocals. Guest vocalist Ruby turns in an inspired performance on "The Electrocutioner", and usual collaborator Snakefinger adds his inimitable guitar throughout, but otherwise it's just four guys and their synths creating a unique blend of avant-garde and pop on their own terms. If you're new to the Residents, this is probably the most accessible entry point to their vast catalog, but it does pale slightly in comparison to their other early work.