Album Review: The Residents- Fingerprince & Duck Stab/Buster And Glen pREServed Editions

Aaron ConnAlbum Review, MusicLeave a Comment


ResidentsWith two albums out of the way, Cherry Red Records have released the next two installments in the Residents’ pREServed Editions Series. The albums, 1977’s Fingerprince and 1978’s Duck Stab/Buster & Glen, have been given the best reissues possible- filled with outtakes, live tracks and other unreleased goodies for diehard fans.  As follow ups to January’s reissues of Meet the Residents and Third Reich N Roll, these next two installments should keep fans happy.

Fingerprince coverFingerprince (1977)
For their next album, the Residents considered making a three-sided album. The idea, while intriguing, was too expensive for the record label. Besides, comedy troupe Monty Python had already released a three-sided album of their own with their 1973 album Matching Tie and Handkerchief. As a result, the group reluctantly made a standard two-sided album. Released in 1977, Fingerprince was fairly different from its predecessors. While it’s usually considered the lesser of the group’s work from the 1970s, Fingerprince is still a strong album.

With nine songs to offer, it’s another weird and wacky album from the group. The songs range from the delightfully demented (“You Yesyesyes”, “Godsong”) to simply eerie (“March de la Winni”, “Tourniquet of Roses”). Of the nine tracks, it’s  the 17 minute “Six Thing to a Cycle” that stands out the most . Within its 17 minutes, it’s a whole collage of madness- with the group running through variations of the “chew, chew, gum, chew” rhythm/structure in several different styles. Listening to the album, it does sound like this wasn’t an entirely completed album. Given what the group had to work with, Fingerprince is a solid album.

Following the original album, the bonus tracks start off with the songs from the 1979 Babyfingers EP. The songs on Babyfingers are all of the songs that the group decided to cut from Fingerprince in order to consolidate their original idea into a standard album. For some reissues of Fingerprince, the album’s tracking list was rearranged with the Babyfingers songs in the mix in an effort to showcase the group’s original vision. For this 2018 reissue, the Babyfingers songs are placed at the end as bonus tracks. Listening to the EP, Babyfingers makes for a great extension to the Fingerprince album. Stand out tracks include “Death in Barstow” and “Walter Westinghouse.” The former is supposedly about the group’s mythical mentor N. Sendana while the latter serves as the chaotic closer.

The second disc for Fingerprince doesn’t offer as much as the previous installments in the series. Despite this, what the pRESserved edition has to offer is good enough. The second disc opens with the 20 minute “Leapmus,” a recording made in February 1976. The liner notes admit that the group isn’t sure of the piece’s history. If anything, the piece sounds like a collection of ideas the group had in mind- with some of them ending up on the final album. As with the other installments, there are bonus live tracks included from different times in the band’s career.

Rating: 7/10

Duck Stab/Buster & Glen (1978)Duck Stab/Buster & Glen
In 1978, the Residents released an EP entitled Duck Stab. When the group had more material to offer, a second EP entitled Buster & Glen was planned. However, a change was made: instead of releasing a second EP, Buster & Glen was made the second side of the group’s next album- with the Duck Stab EP serving as the first side. Of the group’s first four releases, Duck Stab is perhaps the most accessible.

While their previous albums had either distorted production and/or 20 minute pieces, Duck Stab featured 14 tracks- with all of them running no longer than four minutes. With this, the album runs for 34 minutes- their shortest album at that point in time. Some of the group’s most celebrate work is on this album, including the wild frenzy of “Constantinople,” the creepy “Blue Rosebuds,” and the simply chilling “Hello Skinny.” Musically, the album fits with the new wave music that was being released in the late 1970s. If anyone were looking to get into the music of the Residents, this isn’t a bad place to start. The balance between experimentation and weirdness is fairly solid.

Compared to Fingerprince, Duck Stab has more of a varied selection of bonus tracks. With the exception of “Santa Dog ’78,” all of the bonus tracks on the first disc are previously unreleased tracks. According to the booklet’s liner notes, not much is known about these unreleased songs. The recordings are said to be from 1978, hence why they are presented here.

The second disc consists largely of previously released material. For starters, there are the live performances of the Duck Stab songs – all of which are fun to listen to. Of the live performances, only one of the tracks here is seeing its first commercial release: a suite of Duck Stab songs performed in Tromso, Norway in 1986 during the group’s 13th Anniversary Shows. In just 13 minutes, the group were able to run through a number of songs from the album. The recording quality isn’t the best but it should keep some diehards happy. The second disc ends with selections from the 2013 release D*ck S*ab, a limited edition album consisting of remixed and “re-imagined” versions of the songs from original 1978 album.

Rating: 7/10

The remastering here is the same as it was on the reissues of Meet the Residents and Third Reich: it’s loud but not too loud. Without looking at Audacity or any sort of dynamic range meters, I’d say that the two albums sound good overall. Some fans may want to hang onto their older copies of Fingerprince and Duck Stab just to be safe.

Cherry Red have done it again with these new pREServed editions of Fingerprince and Duck Stab. Personally, I’ve been enjoying these reissues and the deep dives into the archives. With top notch packaging, liner notes and remastering- you’re really getting your money’s worth with these.

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Aaron ConnAlbum Review: The Residents- Fingerprince & Duck Stab/Buster And Glen pREServed Editions