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Coochie Brake
Format: VinylChange
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2012
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I have been a fan of the Residents (aka 'Sonidos de la Noche') for over 3 decades now and as I listened to this latest release, the more I thought how much/far the collective has evolved - as well as the territory they have explored. This by no means devalues anything they have done to date, but for me.... and for some strange reason I find Coochie Break an incredibly compelling work - rivaling "Third Reich and Roll" and "Eskimo" - especially with regard to production.

Rich, sometimes dense atmospheric percussive soundscapes, searing guitar work, spoken text (mostly in Spanish and sometimes buried in the mix) with industrial accents, mesh together to form one unified work of sonic poetry. Similar to 'The Voice of Midnight,' the bulk of the vocals are not performed by the usual Residents' suspect. Instead "N. Cook' and M. Villalobos' make their appearance. That choice lends a ghostly quality to the narrative - mind you, however: there is no linear story, or story-telling here. Overall, what is spoken does not dominate the music.

Though I would not classify Coochie Break a 'tone poem' in the traditional sense, I would definitely say that it does communicate and evoke an attitude about imagination and reality. It is an odd juxtaposition between what one hears and the 'story' that accompanies the recording: Coochie Break being a place in Louisiana the pre-Residents hung out as youngsters.

There is mystery here, as well as "...Memories of misty fog, dark shapes and the unexplained sounds of Choochie Break."

A treat for your ears... and imagination
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2013
Format: Audio CD
How bizarre the trip has been if you're a Residents fan. From their early years where discordance and humor were the rule, culminating with "Eskimo", quite possibly the weirdest album ever to achieve gold status, the Residents have epitomized the DIY philosophy, taking experimentalism to places never accessed before, unless you consider the strangest work of Pink Floyd, as in the eerie underwater effects on "Echoes", still one of the most sinister and frightening sounds I've ever heard, or Can, who pioneered industrial music along with the Residents, and brought us sound pictures like "Augmn", unbelievable in its pure psychotic content that has to be heard to understand. Residents fans seeking weirder pastures past their eyeballed friends are urged to get Can's "Tago Mago", but don't tell me you haven't been warned.
Newer Residents material has matured, at least compared to their early stuff. After all, they could take noise weirdness only so far, and opted to incorporate actual melody and construction with their insanity, and the end result is possibly more potent as the music seeps in and traps the listener before he or she realizes their psyche has been trapped for the next 50 minutes or so. "Sonidos De La Noche: Coochie Brake" further compounds the mysterious as the album is sung in Spanish, giving us no clue what exactly it is we're being told unless we speak Spanish ourselves. I would imagine one could find English translations of the lyrics, but in this case, the very strangeness of a language we don't understand adds to the allure rather than diminishes it. Language, like music, has its own tune quality. German, for instance, sounds very harsh and austere. French flows like a gentle river, and Spanish has a fast lilt to it, but can be quite enchanting when spoken slowly, and sometimes understood as modern English has incorporated a lot of it into its own, especially in America.
But it's the music we're worried about, and "Coochie Brake", while at times sounding theatrical, also has distorted straight guitar work, something definitely newer for them, and a potpourri of synth sounds that are at times as sinister as that swamp they describe on the CD sleeve. One can imagine easily some bizarre creatures or aliens in that swamp, who, by chance, found that the four boys who would become the Residents were there to learn, not to harm, and took them in under their wings, arms, appendages, or whatever and sent them to San Francisco to play music from other dimensions, times and planets. "Coochie Brake" is a welcome antidote to the banal pop music contaminating the airwaves today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2014
Format: Audio CD
Spanish language mixed with Voodoo tribal jungle rhythms - it has to be The Residents.

The latest album from The Residents landed in my email box as a promo and I had to indulge having had some small experience with the band with 'Third Reich 'N' Roll', "Meet The Residents", 'Eskimo', "Not Available", "Lonely Teenager" and 'Commercial Album' from the past. Since then I had no idea where their musical direction had taken them but I expected a high strangeness and bizarre atonality with dissonant instrumentation and unsettling vocal intonations.

The new Residents sound is not quite as compellingly disturbing as their earlier material but they still know how to shatter the senses with unexpected splashes of discordance and unpredictable time signatures. They are always going to generate music outside of the box, and indeed often blow the box to pieces with their brand of anti-music.

'Coochie Brake' is made up of 11 tracks beginning with the Spanish murmurings of 'Theater Of Shadows' that didn't impress me at all. I prefer the weirdness of 'The Noche Called My Nombe' with shrieking sax sounds, out of tune synths and groaning vocals. The lyrics are all Spanish again which is unexpected.

'Gotta Believe' is more like the old Residents sound especially the tribalistic percussion and odd instruments. I like this creepy atmosphere generated which is unmistakeably Residents trademark sound.

'Rot Of Ages' has a shrilly effect like bats shrieking and Spanish vocals penetrate a bizarre musical foundation. The low key chants are like some weird cult ritual. This one is more disturbing and totally inaccessible. The remote vocals are disconcerting and overall this is Residents at their darkest best.

'Outside The Fence' has a clanking percussion and some explosives as a chanting drone and echoed Spanish are heard. It builds with menacing volume and I begin to wonder what is being said in Spanish. Perhaps it is better not to know. This sounds ominous and not one to play late at night.

'Tied To A Cactus' is a sound heard on many Residents albums, a bizarre electronic keyboard sound and some tribal tom toms. The ambience of sustained key pads are something unusual though and it works well as a foundation. There are lots of chants and out of balance vocals. However I am growing tired of the Spanish at this stage as I can't relate to it at all.

'Crocodile Tears' has a jungle swamp feel, with incessant birds and tropical rain. The atmosphere is strong and the Spaniard words ring out with some manic yelling. The guitars get heavier and sludgier and the words 'Crocodile Tears' are repeated. This is absolutely out of the box.

'Dead Man On The Floor' has some guitar sweeps and very morbid vocal technique mostly whispered Spanish.

'Runaway' is a good addition with the mantra growled out 'Run, run, run, runaway.' The music is as unsettling atonal jazz as it gets.

'Bitter Biter' is a heavier grind of distorted guitar, a fairly decent riff. The vocals switch from whispers to snarls. The music is excellent on this with slices of tuneless synth violins and groaning guitar string bends and piercing feedback. This is more to my liking as it is strangely compelling anti-music.

'Please Don't Go' ends the album and it needs something bold to wrap it all up. The whispers and fire with booming tom toms are atmospheric. The Spanish words are spoken in low key tones, until guitar, keys and percussion builds threateningly. I have no idea what it is supposed to mean but it again sounds like a bizarre voodoo cult of people gathered around a fiery pyre. The witch doctor whispers spells and unleashes damnation upon the unweary. It could easily be a soundtrack to a horror movie. Suddenly the song changes completely into an outbreak of loud guitars and pounding drums with an agreeable synth sound. Not one to play on your first date.

'Lying Horse Rock' is the bonus disk available but I haven't heard that so you will have to rely on others reviews to discover its secrets. Overall this new Residents album demonstrates the band have not sold out to one iota of commercialism, and in fact are disturbing and off kilter as ever. I am not hugely taken with the ideas on this album, preferring past material but at least this is unashamedly Avant and delivers powerfully in that regard. It will appeal to RIO Avant prog addicts and of course The Residents are eternally going to shake up boundaries of music, and we can only applaud them for their audacity to churn out so much of this over the years of their existence. 3 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2013
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
The use of the mysterious Spanish male speaking voice is unique and sets up an unsettling creepy tone from the beginning. However, through over-use it seems to subtract from the overall impact. Residents fans will like this, but for me personally, I much prefer The Ughs! as an alternative recent option from the boys. I've written my review on that one too.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2012
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
good though, as usual. Somewhat of a departure from their latest stream of depictions of dysfunctionality. But don't worry, not too much of a departure.
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on December 30, 2012
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
was bought as a present for some one and they loved it, would recommend buying it for any residents fan.
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