East Side Digital
You can always count on the Residents to come up with something that a lot of people will consider unlistenable and/or in bad taste. Prancing around on stage in suits and giant eyeball headgear to music reminiscent of a clockwork carnival winding down is not something most would consider fun for more than a couple of minutes. Still, the band has managed to amass a fairly decent (and extremely dedicated) following by continually pushing the envelope. This one is a cake-topper.
Wormwood is the Residents’ take on several Bible stories, culled from the actual text and from their own independent research. The songs are sung from the point of view of actual Bible characters, and the results will make even the most tolerant Christian (or Jew; the Old Testament is not spared) cringe. Take for example “Mr. Misery,” which the liner notes summarize as “Jeremiah is the most unhappy man in the Bible. He spends a couple of books in the Bible being a complete downer.” Not enough? How about lyrics: “With love disguised as agony/ I beg for pain but not for death/ His hatred fills my emptiness.”
Most recent Residents packages I’ve seen lately seem to be quickly assembled, but this is more in line with their carefully-wrought CD-ROM projects, with beautiful artwork, copious liner notes (citing chapter and verse) and complete lyrics. For free thinkers only. East Side Digital, 530 N. Third St., Minneapolis, MN 55401