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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Residents

Triple Trouble: The Original Soundtrack Album

Review by Gary Hill

I never expect The Residents to do anything the way others do. That's a good thing as far as I'm concerned. Here we have a new soundtrack album to their upcoming film. It plays more like a concept album, with the story not precisely clear. Made up of short vignettes, soundtrack music and bits of dialog assembled into longer pieces, this is absolutely captivating. It's such a powerful release. In fact, I'd consider it to be one of their best. This comes in a great book-like CD case.  That case was cool enough to warrant an MSJ bonus video which you can view here:

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2023  Volume 1. More information and purchase links can be found at:

Track by Track Review
Lost Inside a Soul
Ambient effects bring this in, and it builds on that concept gradually. As female voice is heard as the music turns ominous. Piano takes over and some dialog is heard over the top as other instruments provide augmentation. Then it shifts toward a jazzy sort of groove. We a spoken part talking about a white fungus stopping up sinks.  It drops to a man talking about a woman being trapped on train tracks as a train approaches. That train connection almost seems like a call back to Ghost of Hope to me. They move the track out to a more driving, electronic rock vibe and a synthetic voice comes over the top. The pieces contained within this track are titled "Confession," "Walking in the Woods,: "Under the Sink," Sister Juanita" and "Under the Sink Again."
Walking in Circles
A bouncing sort of groove starts this track. A man's voice comes over the top talking about the death of his mother. The music keeps shifting and evolving. It gets a little jazzy with the entrance of a horn, but it also has an unsettling nature. Some piano and other elements bring some dissonance to it. It turns to bouncier, more trademark Residents music at the end. The individual pieces that make this up are "Killing Time," "Walking in Circles," "White Fungus," "Trees Are Like Life" and "Importance of Evergreen."
Let Caution Be Your Cry
Sound effects bring this in and hold it. A strange processed voice says "he's in the basement" several times. The cut shifts toward particularly dark and unsettling sounds, and a man in some sort of distress can be heard. It twists again toward some electronic music that is a little more comforting. It grows in unusual directions from there, though. Pretty, yet sad and dramatic music takes over as a piano handles the main melody. The piece builds up as an electronic symphonic soundscape and a man talks over it. The titles here are "In the Basement," "Malfunction," "Sidewalk Drawings" and "Suzi's Theme"
Finding My Father
Made up of "The Footlocker" and "Fire Fall," atmospherics rise up at the beginning of this. A synthetic voice is heard over the top. It works to more strange ambient zones and another voice comes over the top. This evolves in a very dramatic and suitably soundtrack way. A more standard Residents vocal comes over as the cut gets percussive and more driving in an almost rocking way. After that section piano and other elements take control. The last voice returns over that backdrop from there.
A Phantom Philosophy
Freaky and yet powerful, electronic and symphonic musical concepts are in the driver's seat as this gets underway. We get the synthetic voice we heard on the last one, which sounds like an AI assistant back here. Then the trademark Residents vocal returns as this shifts toward more driving art music. A horn brings a jazzy angle. This earns a parental advisory. There is a bit of a dialog as the man answers a question posed by another voice. This continues evolving by shifting through various artsy zones, and other voices are heard. Spooky music takes over later and another voice comes over the top. The pieces contained here are "Mom's Attic," "Randy's Ghost," "Junior Dreams of Eyeballs," "Mold Is a Fungus" and "Afraid to Go Out."
Empty As An Elephants' Graveyard
The pieces that make up this one are "News Bulletin," "Elephant's Graveyard," "Bubbles in Golden Gate Park" and "Bookcase Out of Control." Deep tones are heard as it gets underway. The sound of the aforementioned news report is heard talking about a limited pandemic of people who have come in contact with the white substance. The music that accompanies that has a sad, slow moving and understated texture to it. This works through a number of shifts and changes before ending with an electronic space rock element.
Fungus Is Forever
A driving, symphonic processional type sound with trippy weirdness built into is on display here as this starts. It drops down to an electronic hum for a time, but then we're taken back to the section that preceded that. This continues to evolve with the occasional voice in place. It has a dramatic and foreboding section for a time. Other concepts take over at other points. This has a real slice of life kind of vibe to it. A voice takes command for a short time near the end, but then a cool electronic symphonic vibe seems ready to take over. It doesn't stay around long, though, instead serving as the ending of the track and the album. The titles to the segments of this track are "The Fungus Farm," "They're Here," "Whatever Happened to Vileness Fats" and "Willie's Last Word."
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