Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

The Mothers of Invention - Freak Out

The Mothers of Invention
Freak Out


Released 1966 on Verve Records
Reviewed by Sylvester Smythe, 28/10/2007ce


What a greasy little monster this is. First listen gives the sort of dry technique exhibited by a group of indifferent college glee-club band mates; like they’re being horrendously held back, there’s so little individuality here, it’s homogeneity to the point of it’s-all-the-same-thing-on-every-channel no matter how often you turn it. Then, the point’s driven home in a not-so unforgiving manner: like the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica bounding over your sadly numbed skull, a buzzing that continues as the cartoon lump rises from your hypothalamus and all other intelligent life with opposable thumbs are on you like White Lilly on Pork Liver; knowing you can only hide in the slippery perforation that stands as the only demarcation between High & Low (is it, or ain’t it) Big ‘A’ Art. But, to your amazement, they begin to come together, namely, the seemingly disparate factions – and noisily, I might add; a loving interface not unlike the confectionary films we were shown to sorta illustrate the wonders of Reproduction. – And flip-book penis with big toothy smile goes into the warm, moist cave. . . . (Giggles.)

And merge, they doth. Of course, it’s a big deal, encompassing lots of stuff, more stuff than you or I could ever begin to imagine. Stuff, like, well, shelf after shelf of library field recordings (of the Lomaxian flavor); oh, and they’re sped up in a nimble wrist’d fury. – And don’t get distracted: there’s more than the ebullient whoo-ing & whew-ing, and, nearly coital sounding greasy vocaleese veneer issuing from a decidedly suzy’d creamcheese. Hell, forget distraction: you can’t forget the bona fide doo-wops, the sifted sands of soul’s esprit, tape looped, lopped and lobbed into vinyl grooves not unlike those that spin centripetally around labels touting eastern-European Big Daddy composers, names like Latin monikers for flora’d fauna and other obscurantist foliage (see Stravinsky and Stockhausen and Varese). Oh, and Rock’s there, too, animated even, self-aware, reflecting on Cartesian mind/body problems that shouldn’t be problems when you’re Geology’s subject proper. – “HELP! I’MA ROCK!” Staring straight ahead, don’t blink: here he is/was, Ol’ Uncle Meat; ½ man, ½ cold-cut, wowing everyone on the size of his metaphorical rake. Nothing really escapes It; there’s Paranoia & Advertising (that which induces the aforementioned), Plastics & Other Polymers, Chromes & Metals, Fashions de rigeur (Micro-Skirts, Nehru Jackets, Stove-Pipe Pants, Monkstrap Shoes & [shiny] plastique Go-Go Boots); there’s trunks Full of Teeth (some chattering, some not), and Legs, and Lips and Eyes, and Junk-Food(s), Oils, Kazoos, and, of course, Genitals. All this caught in the Fall’s seasoned post-partem haul; young babes twisted in the tines. Sabine femmes have nothing on this.

And it keeps moving. Relentlessly. It taunts. It tongue-‘n’-cheeks. Oh: “WOWIE ZOWIE!” – We “May Cause Anal Leakage”, the marimbas seem to say: Bom-Diddy; Bom-Diddy; Bom-Diddy; Bom-Diddy; Bom-Diddy; Bom-Diddy; Mum-Mum-Mum-Mum-Mum-Mum-Mum-Mum! Dah-dah-dah. There’s so much to these two LPs that there’s really not that much to it; spend a little – or a lot – of time with them. Like softshell crabs, it’s sorta scary, but you can eat the whole fucking thing.


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