Renaldo & The Loaf

September 1, 2006

Elbow is Taboo
T.E.C. Tones

In response to an anonymous contributor’s gift of R & L’s Songs for Swinging Larvae, I offer up 1987’s Elbow is Taboo. It’s a great, characteristically messed up mish mash of faux-ethnic music, grammatically skewed spewings and sampledelica. Most of the songs sound like national anthems from far flung nations in some bizarre alternate universe planet earth. Extracting the Re Re sounds like the bastard offspring of Muslimgauze and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts.
From Brian Poole’s liner notes to the 1993 CD edition:

We were fired up by intriguing phrases like ‘The Elbow is Taboo’, ‘Here’s To the Oblong Boys’ and ‘A Street Called Straight’. In the instance of ‘Hambu Hodo’ that was seen on the side of a distressed fast-food wagon where some of the letters from ‘Hamburgers/Hotdogs’ had fallen off; so, naturally, the lyrics had to be equally distressed. ‘Boule!’ was recorded for a project by the French band Ptose, who invited us to produce a cover version of their song about an itinerant dog. Similarly, ‘Extracting the Re-re’ was prepared for a touch tapes (UK) project on ritual.
Each song attempts to tell its own story, be it a child’s desire to control (A Street Called Straight), the ridiculous purdah of an innocent part of the body (The Elbow is Taboo), a call for help in times of angst (Here’s To the Oblong Boys), the rigours of a bread fetish (The Bread Song), the anger of a dance teacher to the terminally inept (Critical/Dance) or a ritual call to prayer, somewhere (Extracting the Re-re).

Personally important is that each song is also a distinct memory of a time, place or observation; a diary of the odd scenarios and obtuse thoughts that, back then, went buzzing through our heads.

It’s a great addition to their Ralph output, even though some modern (for 1987) electronic instrumentation (drum machines, 80’s pre-programmed synths) make it all sound a bit dated.

Here’s to the Oblong Boys


One comment

  1. Fantastic stuff for Residents followers! Thanks! Anyone got more (Arabic Yodeling should be great, too!)?–>

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