Review: The Residents

The Residents
“Demons Dance Alone”
(East Side Digital)

“Demons Dance Alone” is an extremely strong album from The Residents. The teaser of including “Betty’s Body” on “Petting Zoo” heralded its imminent genius. That compilation was intended as a primer for listeners new to the group and included their most melodic, accessible material. This is the spirit of the group that celebrated its 30th Anniversary partly with these two releases. “Demons Dance Alone” is also easily enjoyed; a lyrical, sublimated slab of weirdness from the group. This is the first studio album of completely new material since “Wormwood” (1998). It was written mostly during their 2001 European tour.

Fans of the group’s ’70’s and ’80’s albums like “The Commercial Album” and “Stars & Hank Forever” will appreciate the fact that the group’s love/hate relationship with pop has swung back into love. “Love” is a fitting word here because “Demons Dance Alone” is the most emotionally bare and intimately revealing of the group’s discography. This can be especially felt on such tracks as “My Brother Paul”, also on “Life would be Wonderful”. On the tour for this album, that song was used as a recurring leitmotif for a very human theater of The Residents exposing career disappointment and a rare political observation in their shame of a country that is “pimping war to save our SUVs.”