Walls of Genius

Before...and After

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A lost avant-rock classic that might appeal to many alternative listeners who don't specialize in experimental rock. A rawer, more lo-fi take on the Mothers of Invention, perhaps, with an eclecticism that reaches into scary manipulation of Ronald Reagan soundbites ("Four More Years"); transparently mean-spirited romps through "Twist and Shout" and the obscure surf hit by the Sunrays, "I Live for the Sun"; horror-movie soundscapes ("Night Rat," which sounds like the intro to "2000 Light Years From Home" extended to four minutes); and cynical comedy with spoken dialogue, as in "It's a Scary World Out There" and "Impressions of Denver" ("The more people there are, the more dumb people there are"). Zappa isn't always a workable reference point, however; there are creepy art rock instrumentals; odd uses of gong, synthesizer, autoharp, and flutophone; and a completely off-the-wall, one-minute John Wayne-on-acid monologue, "What You Do" ("Sex is a f*ck, and politics is completely f*cked/It's better to f*ck than get f*cked or f*cked over, and it's plenty of fun just gettin' f*cked up"). By turns comic and disturbing, it's ripe for excavation on CD reissue by some company that doesn't mind losing money for art's sake.