The Residents

Freak Show

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The Residents or a Resident? The question pops up when listening to this rather bland album from the band. Despite the numerous guest vocalists (including a carnival barker with an atrocious fake German accent), the sonic palette appears to be made up of factory presets from their new Macintosh audio hardware (circa 1990). This is a collection of songs based around carnival freaks, from "Harry the Head," "Benny the Bump," and "Wanda the Worm Woman," with a lyrical portrait that dishes out the grotesque with the melodramatic. Unlike their earlier albums, the point of the album is clear from one sitting, and seems to have little else to say apart from "freaks are people, too." On its initial release, the CD was supplemented by a CD-ROM, featuring computer animated versions of the characters, as well as a comic book illustrated by Matt Howarth, Savage Pencil, and various RAW alumni. Possibly it was a concept spread too thin, and the music suffers. Ten years later, it's the music that's left, and it doesn't hold up.

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