The Residents Demons Dance Alone

Attempting to decipher the music on Demons Dance Alone, in which its melody, structures and sounds point towards its creators being the Residents is like trying to summarise the meaning of life. Their company, the Cryptic Corporation, states that the album had "been written for the most part in the days following September 11" and that "the album captures a quite different side of the Residents - a vulnerable, uncertain Eyeball asks questions that have no answers." The album, with its references to cows, tongues, Robert Graves and Plutarch, might explore the concept of a shocking event whereby its witness is left speechless. Instead of painfully trying to place song titles, subtitles and lyrics into some sort of "safety net" of understanding, it is best to listen to Demons Dance Alone as often as possible to get what you want from it. The entity's spokesperson (business and otherwise), Hardy Fox, states a similar sentiment. "I think the album is to reflect the Residents' state of mind as they look at the world, and also as they look at where they are in their lives. With that in mind, they don't really talk to any of us about 'what it means,' and have always been pretty clear that 'meaning' needs to be assigned by the listener, not by the artist." In reference to the musical landscape of the disc, the group touches upon a more melodic structure, one reminiscent in terms of pop catchiness to their earlier albums, and it may very well be their best effort in years. And a balance between their "light" (The Commercial Album) and "dark" approaches (Wormwood) to feelings and sounds are met as well. "If 'light' and 'dark' is defined by the familiar versus the unfamiliar," explains Fox, "then this has more familiar musical moments. The Residents always reference and refer to pop forms, but this album dips into some more literal references, which of course is met with mixed reactions. The Residents like for people to react." Indeed they do, and in true dichotic form they are both cryptic yet planned. Perhaps it isn't music they make, nor a statement, it could very well be an art form so highly evolved that it doesn't have a name yet, except that for our sakes they're called the Residents. (East Side Digital)