This is the first Residents' album to be released through a big 'proper' record label (Moby, Depeche Mode, Nick Cave etc) for quite some time. So have they gone all 'commercial' with a collection of snappy hum along tunes set to hot and trendy beats? Not really and I think it's safe to say this often sombre, at times almost somnambulant, collection will not rocket them onto Top Of The Pops that fast.
Musically there has never been such sophistication. Gorgeous other-worldly melodies, delicate atmos-fears, beautifully controlled performances by all. It's just sometimes the concept demands that we have to sit through a straight faced rendition of some bizarre right wing spiritual ('Elmer's Song' - - Fudd or Bernstein?) and although it's very nicely played and all I just hate that stuff! The (mostly) female vocal performances here are top rate but, as ever, I do miss that deep drawl when it's not around. It's pretty scarce on this platter and when it does appear half the time it's heavily treated with digital trickery.
The post 9/11 album 'Demons Dance Alone', as well as having some lovely tunes, fair reeked of despair at humanity's failings. This one seems to sink even deeper into doubt and self loathing and at my age I could really do without more of that. When The Residents say "aren't animals wonderful?" I would certainly answer "yes", but here it seems to me it's another way of saying "aren't people shit?"
This is a fat album which sits on your chest and makes you beg for air... in a good way, of course.