Renaldo and the Loaf - Play Struvé & Sneff-40th-Anniversary Edition [BlocSonic/ BlocGLOBAL - 2019]Now here’s a treat for fans of more British sonic oddness- the 40th-anniversary edition of Play Struvé & Sneff- the first release from Brit two-piece Avant pop/ off-world music duo Renaldo and the Loaf. The album was very much an embryonic & crude take on the duos sound with its mix of highly dada & plainly odd sonic fare- utilizing mangled & wonky instrumentation, tape loops & wavering sing-song vocals- it was clearly influenced by The Residents, though the duo do make inroads into their own developing sound, as well as giving distinct twists of English wacky-ness to proceedings
This recent reissue presents the album as it was originally released as a cassette- with the original artwork/ look recreated, a new thirty two page booklet, an autographed card, and a card slipcase. This edition of the release is limited to just 200 copies worldwide- so I’m sure these wont hang around long- so act sooner, than later - to avoid disappointment & large eBay prices.
As a whole Play Struvé & Sneff, is sort of a blend of The Resident’s( think Meet The Residents & Fingerprince), and a less precise & off-kilter This Heat. With a mix of sickly jazz-ness, (un)easy-listening, with touches of more sinister early industrial elements, and general lo-fi sonic quickness & invention. The music chunky, amusingly surreal, and decidedly haphazard strew of twanging & unwell guitar work, multi-layered home-made percussion/sound-elements, wonky & bent horn work, melted tape loops, and manic-to-comic vocals that go from Eric Idle like showiness, onto higher cartoon-like, though to murkier & mumbled. One of the big influences on most of eight tracks on side one is early Resident’s- from the way the instrumentation is played deliberately wrongly, through to the claustrophobic & unwell layering of sounds, onto off-key nurse-rhyme vibe & unwell genre-blending, though to the weird lyrics & strange delivery.
On the second side, the duo very much steps out of the shadow of the eyeball and top hats with its two tracks “Untitled” and “Letters From Lee” where they fully shine wholly in their own brand of strangeness. The first track finds the pair unfolding this waving & beautiful psychedelic world music like vibe- with a blend cascading eastern horn-like textures & spacey- to-slightly playful vocalizing- very much hinting at their later deeper digs into world music elements. And “Letters From Lee”- is a ten-minute submersion in Avant & unwell surreal sound waters- as we get ringing phones, layers of spooky underwater vocals, spoken word elements, blunt & sickly guitar burns, & layers post-industrial brood & wonkiness. It’s clear Play Struvé & Sneff is the duo first steps - but there is so much promise & oddness- which come into fruition with their later releases.
US label BlocSonic/ BlocGLOBAL has done a marvelous job on this new reissue of the release. The original artwork & labels of the tape are perfectly reproduced from the original 1979 issue of the tape. The small thirty two page booklet is of glossy stock- featuring both texts & photos- in the booklet it starts off with a three page write up from Shawn Fraklin of the label discussing his passion for Renaldo and the Loaf, and when/how he first heard this album. Next we get the chaps from R&TL dropping in for the rest of the booklet- first discussing the forming of the duo, moving onto first work the pair did together, talking about the tapes recording, the release of the tape, and much more. Inside the pack, you also inlay card- on the front, this features early photo collage from the pair, and on its flip side autographs from both members of R&TL. The whole thing is packaged in dull touch laminated flip side card box- featuring the tapes original artwork, and texts on the back- all making for a lovely produced & thoughtful reissue of this early release from R&TL.
It’s great to see this slice of sonic oddness getting such a grand & impressive reissue- and other labels should certainly take note- this is how it should be done!. So whether you’re a fan of R&TL, late ’70s/ early Brit sonic weirdness, or of course early Residents- this is well worth picking up. To find out where/ how to pick this up head here,