Of all the groups that the Residents
signed to their Ralph records label, English duo Renaldo and the Loaf
were the most slavish copyists of their label heads. Twisted high-pitched vocals, childish melodies, a general air of menace and unease, with a primitive approach to instruments: For those new to both bands you could see how the two could be mistaken for the other. Songs for Swinging Larvae
, their debut album, features 16 short tracks of grating, nonsensical songs, with lyrics that sound good but mean little. The duo forces instrumentation through effect boxes, working with tape loops and cut-ups to grab any interesting sound they can. And while much of it comes off half-baked (many of the tracks fall apart on examination, their only raison d'etre
being a weirdness one-upmanship), there are some pieces here that you'd want to hear more than once: the gamelan and sax throb of "Bali Whine," the threatening crescendo of "BPM," and the dark bubble of a tape loop that spools through "Spratt's Medium." Music guaranteed to rid your house of unwanted guests.