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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Residents

God In Three Persons – 3CD pREServed Edition

Review by Gary Hill

In 1988 The Residents released a concept album titled “God in Three Persons.” This new edition is a three-disc set that includes the original album on the first disc with a couple bonus tracks. The second CD has some instrumental versions of some of the songs from that album along with a previously unreleased epic piece. Disc three includes some odds and ends from cool demos to live tracks. This thing is just so cool. It includes a nice booklet and the whole thing is in a tri-fold-wallet styled digipack.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at:
Track by Track Review
Disc One
God in Three Persons
Main Titles (God In Three Persons)
While this cut has definite Residents strangeness, there is a real traditional progressive rock vibe to it in a lot of ways. This has some cool melodies and really works well.  I love the playful sort of jazzy groove that comes in later along the musical road. 
Hard And Tenderly
There is a cool driving, dramatic musical vibe as this opens. The vocals and other elements bring The Residents’ weirdness to full fruition here. This has a lot of energy and some tastefully strange textures.
Weird atmospheric serves as the backdrop for some spoken lyrics. The music gradually start to rise up and get more involved as this goes onward. It shifts to trippy, strange jazzy textures with some female sung vocals kind of in the distance. It drops back down to the earlier section for the return of the spoken vocals. The cut works forward with the music coming upward in the arrangement.
The Thing About Them
There is a lot of that jazzy thing in place on this number. It’s trademark Residents in a lot of ways, too. While there are sung vocals, the spoken ones are the prominent vocals. The music wanders in some intriguing ways as the cut continues.
Their Early Years
There is a dramatic ominous vibe to some of this. It’s another cool slab of Residents madness.
Loss of a Loved One
There is an almost bouncy kind of vibe to the opening section of this. The cut gets into more strangeness from there. It’s odd, but so cool. Then again, that phrase applies well to The Residents in general. Mid-track the sounds of bells and female voices bring something different to the proceedings. Then an odd bouncy little movement enters to move things onward. The bell sounds are heard on that section, too.
The Touch
A bouncy, light-hearted vibe brings this cut into being. It works out from there into dramatic electronic prog that sounds a bit like something Synergy might do. The “it fluttered down” chorus is so catchy.
The Service
A jazz-like element is at play on this pounding kind of number. Some lounge-lizard styled keyboard sounds join the arrangement as the number continues. There is a real 60s sort of feel to a lot of the first part of this cut. Around mid-track percussion rises up and the piece is reinvented into more a weird church meets rock and roll element.
Confused (By What I Felt Inside)
This is so cool and so weird at the same time. It has odd music along with the spoken vocals. It really gets quite trippy as it works forward. This turns darker and synthetic as it drives toward space sounds.
Fine Fat Flies
There is a dark vibe to this cut. It has a rather stripped down arrangement as it begins. It gets very psychotic at times. There are some symphonic elements to the arrangement, with it really feeling a bit like a soundtrack at points.
Freaky, driving music is at the heart of much of this piece. It’s again something that would work well in a soundtrack.
Silver, Sharp And Could Not Care
More electronic and driving rocking elements drive this piece. This piece has a very psychotic vibe to both the music and the lyrics, particularly as the arrangement moves toward the sparser end of the spectrum.
Kiss of Flesh
There is a driving, electronic vibe to the first part of this cut. It is strange and powerful. After the vocals drop away this works toward a driving kind of electronic jam. That drops away, leaving just some effects type stuff, around the four-and-a-half-minute mark. The spoken vocals emerge over the top. This has some bizarre dialog. The cut seems to work to pure psychosis. Music rises back upward for the next spoken vocals. The cut has a dark and horrific theme. The lyrics are not for children or the faint of heart.
Pain And Pleasure
The resolution for the album proper, this has a bit of a jazz, old school rock and roll groove to it. Of course, it’s set within that Residents weirdness zone.
Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love)
Electronic percussive elements are joined by world music melodies as this piece works out from its start. There is some demented psychedelia in the mix here. The vocals are partly spoken, partly sung.
G3P Over
This instrumental piece has a cool driving electronic energy. It’s another that shares some ground with Synergy, but with that unmistakable Residents weirdness added to the mix. This is quite cool. It’s also nearly ten minutes long, so it has a number of changes and different themes and elements at play.
Disc Two
Original Soundtrack Recording
Main Titles (God In Three Persons)
This instrumental version of the piece works quite well. A playful vibe really manages to stand out in this arrangement.
Hard & Tenderly
Some of the female vocals remain on this instrumental version of the cut. The jazz stylings on this are really enhanced here with horns managing to shine through quite well.
The Thing About Them
The horns really shine on this version of a number from the first disc, too. They seem to lend something more classical than jazz, though. Of course, it’s all over an electronic kind of weirdness that is trademark Residents.
Their Early Years
I dig the cool vibe of this instrumental take. It’s dramatic and so powerful.
Loss Of A Loved One
The female vocals on the other version of this number remain. This piece has a more classical texture in this format.
The Touch
This instrumental take features driving, powerful electronic textures. The female vocals remain, and the synthesizers really stand out here.
The Service (Part 1)
This and the next track are instrumental takes of a number that was presented as one piece on the first CD. The first part is driving and a bit trippy, and the female vocals remain.
The Service (Part 2)
More powered up and driving, this has a very prominent percussive element.
Confused By What I Felt Inside
Driving electronics are at the heart of this instrumental take. The cut gets quite bizarre with sounds like an elephant later.
Kiss of Flesh
A suitably strange instrumental take of the earlier cut works well here. This is a extensive and dynamic journey. You really notice the variety and duration with the vocals gone.
Pain And Pleasure
I dig how tasty and jazz-like this cut is in an instrumental format. It has a great vibe.
Knot In A Million Years
Previously unreleased, this epic length piece is almost exactly 23 minutes long. Trippy textures with theremin and more open this. The cut moves forward in freaky, but so cool, style from there. More driving prog with jazzy elements takes it for a time, but then it shifts to mellower weirdness. A playful kind of movement that has a really weirded out sound takes it next. This evolves working through some differing electronic soundscapes as it does. This really takes the listener to some weird places.
Disc Three
G3P Ephemera
Main Titles (Demo)
This demo feels a bit less alien than the final version does. I love how the melodies work along this road. There are some spoken credits here, with all credit going to The Residents. This is really a lot of fun in this format.
Devotion? (Demo)
I like how the vocals sound on this. It’s not a typical Residents vocal, but it is a nice change and feels more “human.” Of course, that, in itself, is less Residents-like. This demo makes for a cool bit of a variety.
The Thing About Them (Demo)
This demo has a cool bouncy groove and vibe to it. I dig the vocal on this. I especially like the jazzy sort of excursion later.
Loss Of A Loved One (Demo)
There is some real magic in this demo version. While this has a much more organic vibe than the final album version, it also works so well. That sort of real world feeling has a grounding effect on the strangeness within the track.
The Touch (Demo)
The more organic vibe to this lends a certain ominous tone. The fast paced section that makes up the second half has a real psychotic vibe. It almost feels like something that would have been at home in the soundtrack to some horror film from the 1960s.
The Service (Demo)
I dig the cool rocking groove on this alternate version. This has a real retro vibe along with some mainstream progressive rock. I almost think I prefer the demo version of this in some ways. It’s definitely strong.
Confused (By What I Felt Inside) (Demo)
The bouncy, percussive kind of groove on this works quite well in this demo take.
Loss Of A Loved One (Extended)
You get precisely what is advertised here, a longer version of the track from the album proper. There are some intriguing symphonic moments built into this.
Holy Kiss Of Flesh (Single Mix)
More truth in advertising, we get a single version here. It’s almost more of a dance mix, with more of a driving energy and some echoey elements. This is cool, and perhaps in some ways even stranger than the version on the album proper. There are moments that are more accessible, though. I’m not sure what kind of single this is supposed to be, as it’s over 16 minutes long.
Land Of 1000 Dances/Double Shot
This two-fer is over 13-minutes of music. There are quite a few changes along this road. It’s pretty much trademark Residents in a lot of ways. Electronic and strange, this is also oddly compelling. There are sections here that take us into the song proper, too.
Their Early Years (Live)
As advertised, this is a live performance of the cut from the album proper. This seems more stripped back in some ways.
Hard And Tenderly (Live)
This live version is hard rocking and tastefully noisy. It’s screaming hot. This is dramatic and so cool.
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