Televangelist Benny Hinn won't be a big fan of the new Residents album. It assaults every premise that Hinn and others like him have based their grubby little careers upon. "Wormwood's" cynical take on all things Biblical is a new high (or low) for one of the most purposefully outrageous bands of our time.
The Residents have always been known for their dark visions and idiosyncratic vocal treatments, and the 33-year-old San Francisco-based ensemble continues that legacy on their new disc with avant-garde and orchestrated synth tracks meandering behind the album's Muppet-voiced narrators.
The band looks at biblical stories like the creation ("In the Beginning"), the lamentations of the prophet Jeremiah ("Mr. Misery") and the betrayal of Jesus ("Judas Saves") from a dark, if somewhat neo-scholarly, position. They skew standard interpretations and then offer scriptural verse to back up their unorthodox viewpoints -- much as the Bible says Satan would do. "Wormwood" isn't exactly an easy listen, but it certainly is an interesting, thought-provoking one.