The Residents Ė Gingerbread Man (CD Cherry Red)

Gingerbread Man is the latest in the Residents Preserved series, a set of expanded deluxe versions of their albums.

Gingerbread Man originally came out back in 1995 and was their 19th studio album. It was their first album of completely new material since 1990s Freak Show.
Like Freakshow the Residents here were fully embracing the modern age and diving head first into the murky pool of CD-ROMs.

This new edition has a remastered version of the album and two extra discs with bonus material that gives us the legendary Fat Boy tapes (the demos and early workings of Gingerbreadman) and also adds Hunters a soundtrack album commissioned for the Discovery channel series Hunters: The World of Predators and Prey.

Packaging wise we follow the now familiar format of an eight panel thick card gatefold with a 24 page booklet with extensive amounts of information about the album itself and a piece about each of the characters within the Gingerbread album.

The album feels very much like a development of Freak Show you have another set of characters with a story and a theme running through the tracks (the You Canít Catch Me Iím the Gingerbread Man ) being a recurring refrain throughout. Each track them takes you deep into the subconscious world and inner monologues of the characters. The sounds itself have, like Freakshow, a very carny feel done in a very early midi-fied way. Definitely building on Freakshow. You could almost join the two together and make them one big release.

But as mentioned earlier aside from the original album you get a whole wealth of great stuff The Fat Boy Tape, which a basically the early workings, demos and outtakes of sessions for this album and has been a repeated listen for me. At the end of discs two you also get a whole instrumental version of Gingerbread Man.

I imagine the idea behind adding Hunters to this package was to keep things nice and chronological. But in terms of sound and themes the Hunters album is very different I suppose sometimes judging a soundtrack album with out seeing what it soundtracks is a difficult task, The music being written to particular visual scenes and timings makes it tricky to bring to an audience that is purely experiencing it in an audio capacity. As such this is a pretty tamer Residents, they clearly took their role seriously and concentrated on making music that would go with the documentary it was written for. Itís good music it has tension building moments, some good tribal rhythms and just the odd quirkiness of maybe something sounding slightly a little bit askew to still satisfy Residents fans.

If that wasnít enough you also get the Prelude To "The Teds"EP that was commissioned in 1993 by They Might Be Giants, a band who were big Residents fans, for their series of mail-order CD releases, the Hello Recording Club.

These Pre-served releases really are delivering the goods for Residents fans they have so much bonus material of all shapes and sizes that itís difficult to find much wrong with them. Thereís going to be something on them for everyone. I look forward to the next instalment. DB