Music Reviews: The Residents


This was the first Residential music I heard. Even in the beginning, the process was fraught with misinformation and errors, not unlike the myths about the Residents themselves.

My interest began with reading Matt Howarth's Sonic Curiosity comic strip music reviews in his comics Savage Henry and Those Annoying Post Bros. Several reviews were of Residential music, and it sounded interesting. When I ran across a used copy of the CD Mark of the Mole (with guest star Intermission), I picked it up.

Upon reading the liner notes, I became confused. The notes recommended interleaving the tracks of Intermission with Mark of the Mole to get the full theatrical effect of prelude, first act, intermission, second act, and recessional. The notes referred to 11 tracks, but there were only 10 on the CD. I took a guess and started with track 7, expecting to hear the prelude. I later found out this was actually the first of the intermission's three tracks, "Shorty's Lament". As it happens, the CD combines two earlier tracks into one, throwing off the count. So my first Residential experience was a mistake. Seems appropriate.

But the music I heard... was gripping. Driving rhythms, Doppler well percussion, thready analog synth, female voices singing almost understandable words in bizarre harmonies, the spoken voice of Shorty himself... an unusual and heady mix.

Once the fever finds your soul
Something else will take control
Something dark and from a bowl
(...something says to me...)
But it can be indiscreet
And you tend to overeat
For the taste that's soft and sweet

I was hooked. And now, over thirty RezCDs later, it's still my favorite. It's a mysterious, glorious piece of music. And the rest of the tracks on Intermission are just as good. Why are you still reading this review and not heading to the music store now? anybody driving? Is anybody driving at all?...

Last updated 17 March 2004
All contents ©1999-2002 Mark L. Irons