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.


thellama73 said...

The Residents are such a mixed bad for me. So many of their albums are brilliant, but they release a lot of trash as well. Personally, I have never really gotten into Duck Stab, although I know it is usually highly praised. It is too song oriented and I prefer it when they use actual instruments as opposed to their very dated sounding synths. Nevertheless there are some good tracks on this one and most fans love it, so hey, what do I know?

Prof. ~.a.~ said...

I understand, good sir. It seems everyone has a favorite Residents period/sound. Truth be told, my favorite is ESKIMO, followed closely by THIRD REICH 'N ROLL, DUCK STAB, and MEET THE RESIDENTS. I just consider this their most accessible early work.

thellama73 said...

Minus Duck Stab, those are my three favorites as well.