The Residents

Fingerprince (Tourniquet of Roses)

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This transitional album for the group may not be one of their best, but makes up for it in historical importance. The self-created myth has that the album was intended to be the first three-sided release, what probably transpired was that the group had more songs than could be fit on a vinyl LP, so a few years later the remaining tracks were released as the Babyfingers EP (good luck trying to find one). Both EP and LP tracks are on the CD reissue, however. Fingerprince is one side of songs, a melding of their earlier, primitive side (their old piano, heard so well on Meet the Residents, is still in service here) with their sinister pop side that would be perfected on Duck Stab and The Commercial Album (including their treated, cheap-sounding drum machines). Side two is a ballet cycle, entitled "Six Things to a Cycle," an attempt at faux-ethno-primitivism (heavily rhythmic, repetitious) that would prefigure their work in Eskimo and Mark of the Mole. The instrumentation owes as much a debt to Martin Denny's exotica as it does to Amadeo Roldan (the modern composer they sampled on their first single). The Babyfingers tracks follow a similar pattern, with a side of short songs ("Death in Barstow" being the best) and a longer track ("Walter Westinghouse") an experiment in extended, multi-character narrative. Snakefinger lends his guitar to "You Yesyesyes," dropping licks from The Third Man and others.

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