Album no. 137/1001
Are you ready for something fast and bulbous? It’s our favourite experimental collective, Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band back with their third, and most agree, best album.
Old mate Beefy was dropped from two different record labels before his friend Mr Frank Zappa signed him to his label, Straight Records. He also gave the band complete creative control over this album, which may explain why IT’S WEIRD AS FUCK.
Have you listened to this album before?
CL: Nope. Only his first one, Safe As Milk – which was GREAT.
NK: No, but I loved Safe As Milk. I will miss Ry Cooder though :-(.
CL: Well. Safe As Milk this is not, I’m sorry to say. I quite like ‘Pachuco Cadaver’ – that at least has some semblance of normal Western rhythms. There are a couple that are alright actually, ‘Sugar N Spikes’, ‘Hobo Chang Ma’. But my goodness, my ears were hurting when I first put this on. It’s tough going. The guitars are all over the shop, the drums just wander in when they feel like it, and old mate Beefy’s just yelping nonsensical lyrics like they’re going out of style.
NK: Hrrrrrrrrmmmm. This is pretty strange! Everything runs together, so I struggled to remember specific songs. ‘Frownland’ is good, one of the few that resembles a traditional song. ‘When Big Joan Sets Up’ is a pretty solid track if you want to get an idea of what this album is like. Those screechy guitars, man. Can be hard to take.
CL: There’s an entire song where they just repeat the phrase “fast and bulbous.”
When would be the best time to listen to this?
CL: You’ll need to carve out some serious listening hours to give this what it deserves, I reckon. It’s HARD. It’s really difficult listening – it’s like the weirdo jazz stuff we had a while back, but this time there are some extra-fun lyrics thrown in.
NK: Do NOT listen to this if you have a hangover. That is the best advice I can give.
Why has this album been included on the list?
CL: It really does sound a lot like a lot of people just got in a room and started shouting and playing instruments. But I’m guessing that’s the whole point. It takes a lot of time to make something sound like you’re just practising.
NK: It’s pretty different! Not a lot to sing along to, but some interesting stuff going on. Snatches of dialogue, songs with no lyrics, a song with just Beefy having a sing, incomprehensible time signatures, it’s got it all.
CL: If you’re particularly interested in delving a bit deeper into old mate’s discography, The AV Club have an excellent beginner’s guide to Captain Beefheart.
Will you be listening again?
CL: At this point, I’ve only heard it once. HOWEVER. Part of me still wants to come back and try it again. That seems to be the consistent advice.
NK: I didn’t mind this. It wasn’t as straightforward as Safe As Milk, but I still liked it. I will give it another go at some point.
You can’t listen to Trout Mask Replica on Spotify but you can hear it over on YouTube.