The Residents - seminal third album reissued
The Residents have re-released their classic third album, ‘Third Reich‘n’Roll’ as a deluxe edition.
Originally released in 1976, ‘Third Reich‘n’Roll’ is a groundbreaking album and features only two tracks, ‘Swastikas On Parade’ and ‘Hitler Was A Vegetarian’, both intense, deconstructed [series of] cover versions of 1960s hits. If not inspired, it certainly was encouraged by Krautrock deconstructivists such as Can, Faust et al.
The band’s third album - although at the time they had not issued their second one for own reasons - found themselves isolated from mainstream bland radio friendly rock, record industry and even shops to stock their long-players and soon concluded they had created an album about fascism and in particular, the fascism of Rock‘n’Roll.
Since the album’s concept was fascism, the original artwork - depicting Dick Clark, presenter of American Bandstand, the first US national rock programme, in Nazi uniform holding a tempting carrot - and photo sessions for ‘Third Reich‘n’Roll’ are controversial, employing Nazi imagery and featuring The Residents (pre-eyeball days) wearing huge swastika collars.
Mute’s deluxe release of this ‘classic’ album of cover versions includes a 32-page booklet including all the photo sessions from the time, the original sleeve art and an “historical” text explaining the concept and its relevance to culture today. And, it is certainly worth getting it just for the notes: informative, part critical, part deeply insightful of the time, it is somewhat hilarious as well.
The album was avant-garde at the time and now, at the period of the increased corpo-crap that passes for popular music-cum-mass entertainment - it is even more so. Disturbing, weird and still utterly brilliant after all these years.
But then, the most obscure of all mystery bands have never, as the notes proudly proclaim - supported racism, Catholicism, fascism, Judaism, cynicism, realism or journalism.