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Residents - Commercial Album

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 18 / 11 / 2004

Residents - Commercial Album
Label: Mute Records
Format: CD


Timely re-release for the Residents 'Commerical Album', which consists of 40 one minute tracks, each the length of the average TV advert

The Residents 'Commercial Album' was originally released on Ralph Records back in 1980 but it makes more sense listening to it today than it did back then. 'The Commercial Album' isn't really commercial at all. It consists of 40, yes 40, one minute tracks, all the length of the average TV advert and this is the basis of this project. It comes wrapped in an attractive booklet with stills from a DVD film which has also been released to accompany this. As a project, it works, but, while rewarding, it is hard work and best listened to in two sittings. 'Easter Woman' has a wacky child like vocal which is set against the backdrop of a Devo style tune. 'Perfect Love'is 50's style sci fi. The synthesisers on it are used to sound like aliens speaking. 'Picnic Boy' has weird Doors-like guitars which are set to a Devo-style tune. 'End of Love' is 60's style thriller movie soundtrack material, while 'Amber'is cheesy but also immense fun. 'Japanese Watercolour' is new wave experimental nonsense, while 'Secrets'is a fun ditty played on guitar and piano. 'Die in Terror' and 'Red Rider' are both fun tracks. The former is played on a banjo. 'My Second Wife' recalls early Bowie, while 'Floyd'is early synthesiser pop in the style of Kraftwerk. 'Suburban Bathers' is an English-sounding psychedelic piece. 'Dimples and Toes'proves to be more psychedelic nonsense. 'The Nameless Souls' features a voice distorter. 'Love Leaks Out' is a moody piece that doesn't really go anywhere. 'The Act of Being Polite' is a narrative tale which features some pleasant organ. 'Medicine Man' sounds like the theme from 'Jaws', but is played in a very kitsch manner. 'Tragic Bells' has a strange Syd Barratt vocal, and features both cheesey organ and tinny guitar. 'Loss of Innocence' returns to the theme of 'Jaws'. 'Simple Song' is organ based and features a lovely harmony based choir, while 'Ups and Downs' is odd in an early Roxy Music way. 'Possessions' is fun based, while 'Give It to Someone Else' is again narrative based and features lots of weird guitar and bass effects. 'Phantom' is a light humoured horror theme like instrumental, while 'Less Not More' features perky guitarwork which is contrasted with some downbeat bass. 'My Work is so Behind' is another fun filled minute, while 'Birds in the Trees' has a large, oriental sound. 'Handful of Desire' has another child like vocal, while 'Moisture' is fun, in an early R.E.M. way. 'Love is...' is a film soundtrack style instrumental and features a distorted vocal. 'Troubled Man' has a new wave sound and another wacky vocal. 'La La' is fast and fun in a 50's sci fi way, while 'Loneliness' is sad sounding. 'Nice Old Man' is sharp and dark sounding and features a female vocal. 'The Talk of Creatures' is haunting and features some perky guitarwork. 'Fingertips' has some loud guitar, a way out vocal and recalls the Waterboys, while 'Inbetween Dreams' is a short film style sounding instrumental, while 'Margaret Freeman'is a sharp slasher film style piece with a bassline that recalls Simon Gallup of the Cure and Peter Hook of Joy Division and New Order. 'The Coming of the Crow' is a very loud and in your face, while 'When We Were Young', the final track, sounds like the sort of music which might be used in a toilet paper advert. 'The Commercial Album' was a massive influence on Echo and the Bunnymen's Will Sergeant.It is weird and decidely oddball, but is never less than interesting and often compelling.

Track Listing:-
1 Easter Woman
2 Perfect Love
3 Picnic Boy
4 End of Home
5 Amber
6 Japanese Watercolour
7 Secrets
8 Red Rider
9 My Second Wife
10 Suburban Bathers
11 Floyd
12 Dimples and Toes
13 The Nameless Souls
14 Die in Terror
15 Love Leaks Out
16 Act of Being Polite
17 Medicine Man
18 Tragic Bells
19 Loss of Innocence
20 The Simple Song
21 Ups and Downs
22 Posessions
23 Give It to Someone Else
24 Phantom
25 Less Not More
26 My Work is so Behind
27 Birds in the Trees
28 Handfull of Desire
29 Moisture
30 Love Is
31 Troubled Old Man
32 La La
33 Loneliness
34 Nice Old Man
35 The Talk of Creatures
36 Fingertips
37 In Between Dreams
38 Margaret Freeman
39 The Coming of the Crow
40 When We Were Young

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