Frank Zappa: Zoot Allures

By Peter Reilly

Stereo Review, April 1977

FRANK ZAPPA: Zoot Allures. Frank Zappa (vocals and guitar); instrumental accompaniment. Black Napkins; The Torture Never Stops; Disco Boy; Friendly Little Finger; Wonderful Wino; and four others. WARNER BROS. BS 2970 $6.98, Ⓑ M8 2970 $7.97, © M5 2970 $7.97.

Performance: Hectically boring
Recording: Old fashioned

Frank Zappa's ability to astonish the middle-class listening public has dwindled so much that these days he comes across as the musical male equivalent of one of those eccentric shopping-bag ladies muttering darkly to herself in a doorway. Stale breezes from the Sixties waft all through this album as Zappa tries his old-time shock tactics in such things as The Torture Never Stops and Black Napkins. The result is so hectically boring that it makes you want to buy a pencil from him just to shut him up. Needless to say, the crust of pretension is that thick and the production work is an elaborate hodgepodge of everything that was "happening" ten years ago. If you want to know about that album title: years ago there was a French cartoon that showed a ve-r-r-y long dachshund wrapped all the way around a tree so that he was sniffing his own little behind. The caption read: "Zut, alors – c'est moi!" Just so.