Chad A. | 07/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Song of the Bailing Man is an album that is often overlooked; for many fans of Pere Ubu it is their least favorite (along with Art of Walking). This makes sense because it is a different album from the rest. It lacks the Punk edge of the earliest Pere Ubu and it's not as dark as the middle period albums (and I'm speaking only of the unit's first incarnation). With Song of the Bailing Man, the group took a brighter, more whimsical approach that was to be carried on by David Thomas in his early solo work. This album stands as Pere Ubu's greatest contribution to the Zolo style with its zany energy and playful, abstract melodies. The rhythms are complex and mind boggling with their surprising changes of time and tempo. The songs are alternately led by Maimone's intricate bass-lines and the chipper staccato of Thompson's guitar. The interplay between the two is fascinating throughout the CD. The over-all sound tends toward lop-sided and wobbly, especially on toons like "Big Ed's Used Farms", "West Side Story", and "Vulgar Boatman Bird", to name a few. Song of the Bailing Man is more song oriented than the preceding album, Art of Walking, the exception being "Stormy Weather" (which actually sounds like a foggy night at sea). Every single song on this album in excellent. As a whole it stands apart from the rest of the Pere Ubu discography in its brilliant assimilation of, and unique approach to, Zolo."
Ubu's most consistent album since The Modern Dance
Michael G. Roth | Vestal, NY, United States | 12/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After two albums of overexperimental avant garde with a couple of really great songs thrown in, Pere Ubu finally releases a costistently good album without the unlistenable experimental songs like Lost in Art or a Small Dark Coud. While it lacks the grittiness of other stellar LPs like the Modern Dance, Song of the Bailing Man presents a more complex and, yes, artsy Pere Ubu. This album is no less artsy and FAR less pretentious than The Art of Walking or New Picnic Time which expect the listener to take a rock band so seriously as to make radio static acceptable. A great buy for someone interested in Pere Ubu."
My only Pere Ubu-I WANT MORE!
Toe Jam is Fun | somewhere stupid | 05/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love this album! David Thomas' warbly vocals, Mayo Thompson's rare but catchy guitar, Tony Maimone's complicated, intricate basslines, and Anton Fier's complex drumming make for a wonderful album. I'll do a song by song breakdown to make it easier for you to see the inside of my mind bu-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
1. The Long Walk Home: Great song with a jazz breakdown in the middle, featuring odd static noises. 4/5
2. Use of a Dog: David Thomas kind of sounds like Tiny Tim on this one, which adds to the song's oddness. Cool trumpet, played by guest Eddie Thornton. 4/5
3. Petrified: GREAT SONG GREAT SONG GREAT SONG the little voices in my head are screaming. I have to agree with them. Between the great rhythm section workout, the lyrics about fossils, and, uh... I dunno, it's good okay?! 5/5
4. Stormy Weather: Too long even at 3 minutes. Very boring, although some of the ship noises and bells are slightly interesting. My least favorite track on the album. 2/5
5. West Side Story: It sounds a little bit like jazz gone wrong, with the great rhythm section (again! Maimone and Fier are really awesome!) and the mallet instruments. I likeses it lotses. 4/5
6. Thoughts that go by Steam: Eh. It's pretty good, but not one of my favorites. 3/5
7. Big Ed's Used Farms: If only for the sheer goofiness of the song it gets 5/5.
8. A Day Such as This: A mini-epic divided into 2 or 3 parts, some of which sound vaguely tribal and quite interesting. David Thomas spells out "Hyperbole" which I think means something like nonsense. Ha ha ha. Really good song though. 5/5
9. The Vulgar Boatman Bird: Good. 4/5
10. My Hat: Goofy. 4/5
11. Horns are a Dilemma: Good 4/5
So, this album gets my seal of approval."