Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Residents

  • Fingerprince [Ralph, 1976] B
  • Duck Stab/Buster & Glen [Ralph, 1978] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Fingerprince [Ralph, 1976]
With its mechanized vocal sounds and displaced melodies, this is the kind of vanguardy post-pop pastiche Frank Zappa might be putting together if he hadn't left his brain at the bank in 1971. Most of my informants prefer Meet the Residents or (especially) Third Reich n' Roll, with its disrespectful but familiar quotes from the likes of "It's My Party" and "96 Tears," but I find this current album more listenable--Another Green World with a chip on its shoulder, sort of. B

Duck Stab/Buster & Glen [Ralph, 1978]
Much to my annoyance, I not only find myself nyaahing along to these weird, misanthropic, exuberantly absurdist post-art-rock fragments, I find myself giggling. Just the thing to divert precocious but obnoxious ten-year-olds. A-

Further Notes:

Subjects for Further Research [1980s]: Once I listened with respectful pleasure to the mechanical, displaced nature of these anonymous San Francisco cutups, but when Ralph took me off the mailing list around 1981, presumably for lack of enthusiasm, I didn't complain. Later Rykodisc sent me God in Three Persons, an obscure or banal fable about pain 'n' pleasure narrated by an avant-garde cousin of Stanard Ridgway, and Enigma sent me The King and I, in which the same fella casts aspersions upon Elvis Presley in between covering his songs. Some will tell you these are great works. Which is why I myself m no longer dying to hear their much-praised Gershwin-Brown tribute George & James.

Everything Rocks and Nothing Ever Dies [1990s]