Arabic Yodelling was Renaldo & The Loaf's third album and their second for The Residents Ralph Records. It took two years to make and finally saw the light of day in 1983. This collection of songs and tunes describes characters, places and covert observations, although not designed to have a preconceived storyline, the songs seem to lend themselves to a picture show of the mind. Each listener is free to wander through this place, creating (or not) their own interpretation. The title comes from ‘Like Some Kous-Kous Western’. There’s a bit where Brian Poole sings something that sounds vaguely eastern or Arabic and somehow mutates into something like a yodel – David Janssen commented that it sounded like Arabic yodelling and that was filed away somewhere for future use. Around the same time, a lot of other tracks were started, but never finished. RATL now collected lots of these bits and peaces, worked on them, and for the third time we present you this release as a deluxe double CD. Some of the bonus tracks will find you stunned. Others are classic Renaldo & The Loaf. You will love this, we promise. Remastered from the original tapes!
1. Green Candle 2. Night 3. Bearded Cats 4. The Blowflies's Dilemma 5. Dichotomy Rag 6. A Critical Dance 7. Wilf In Builth 8. Leery Looks (From Father's Books 9. Home After Rain 10. Clean Gender 11. Vitamin Song 12. Lonely Rosa 13. J.P.W.B.C. 14. Like Some Kous Kous Western 15. Nelda Danced At Daybreak 16. There's A Cap On The Lawn 17. I.1 18. It's A Flaming Row, Sir! 19. Counting Sand 20. I.2 21. Bearded Cats (Instrumental) 22. Feral Nelda Steals The Show 23. One Dream Per Night + I.4 24. Blowflies's Dilemma (Larval Forms) 25. I.5 26. Something To Prove 27. Acerbic Yelling 1 28. Kous Kous Western Parts 2 & 3 29. Early Night + Acerbic Yelling 2 30. I.7 31. Is Fall Equal To A Rise? + Acerbic Yelling 3 32. Leery Looks (Instrumental) 33. The Road To Builth + I.8 34. I.6 35. St John Meets The Dancing Dervish 36. She Wears Black 37. Guitar Sketch Combo 38. I.3 .
Renaldo and the Loaf get lumped in with the Residents far too often. As with most stereotypical reactions, there’s a grain of truth in the comparison, but the English duo’s soundworld is much more diverse, and this album proves it. If the thickly layered melodies of “Green Candle” sport Residential brevity and repetition, their mood is lighter, even playfully silly, where the Residents tend toward darker themes. When the ambiance does take on darker hues, on “Night”’s intricate passages of multiheaded vocal manipulation, it’s momentary, an over-the-top near-sarcasm that finds its apogee in “Leery Looks (From Father’s Books)”. Nowhere has adult recreation, as viewed by the little boy who helped build the shelves that house it, been so well served. Those wildly disjunct acoustic guitar lines signal a radical departure, some sort of foray into the “folk” world with a healthy measure of 20th century classical esoterica tossed into the mix. (...) When the band includes a second disc, it’s never just a collection of outtakes or alternates. Struve and Sneff, about to get a second pressing for those who missed it, came with a disc containing an early live performance. Yodeling’s companion is an album-length statement, a suite whose components might seem sketchy to those unfamiliar with the album proper but will intrigue and delight anyone for whom it has been a long-time favorite. (...) The album has never sounded better, eclipsing previous CD issues and even my original vinyl.
(Dusted In Exile, September 2015)
Everything on this album seems so much more planned, layered, and detailed- where Songs For Swinging Larvae was often quite haphazard & rough around the edges in both it’s unfold & individual track lay-out. On Arabic Yodelling there is clearly a lot of time & effort gone into the sonic layers of each & every track, the running order of the tracks, and general album feel. The band clearly want to take you on a strange & heady trip to a sonic land that melds together honking & quirky toy-time melodies, bent world music elements/ textures, and a good old British dada sensibilities. Yet for all the songs layered & quirky odd-ness there’s a real feeling of keen & memorable melodies edging pretty much all of the tracks here.
(Musique Machine, February 2016)