The Residents, come 1981, were not happy. While Eskimo had been a phenominal success for the band, the semi-sort-of follow-up, The Commercial Album was a flop. This was compounded by tensions between Ralph Records, The Cryptic Corporation, and The Residents themselves. In response, The Residents dove into the studio, planning to create something... apocalyptic.
The result was appropriate. The Mark Of The Mole, the first part in The Residents' planned three (later six) part Mole Triolgy of albums. Mark Of The Mole tells the story of a race of indigenous peoples, the Mohelmot, also known as Moles. The Moles live underground in a giant pit. They're isolated, primititve, and have had little contact with the outside world. They're hard-working, and deeply religious. It is also the story of a race of people called the Chubs. The Chubs are the polar opposite of the Moles. They live by the sea, lethargic and lazy. On the first side of the album, a natural disaster floods the Moles' pit, and they are forced to march to the sea. One the second side, they arrive in the land of the Chubs, wherein they are essentially enslaved. A Mole worker turns technology, which Mole people have resisted, into a force to free their numbers. The album ends with the sounds of war.
The Mark Of The Mole drew heavily from depression-era stories, such as John Steinbeck's The Grapes Of Wrath. It also drew on their experiences with racism from their days in Louisiana. The unique sound, of The Mark Of The Mole called to mind the world music explored in Fingerprince, and Eskimo. Also, Penn Jillete, a close friend of the band (and half of Penn and Teller) is featured on the album narrating a radio broadcast. The Mark Of The Mole was combined with some music from its follow-up, The Tunes Of Two Cities to create The Mole Show, The Residents first live tour.
The Mark Of The Mole was originally released on vinyl, in both a regular edition, and a special autographed Collector's Edition on caramel colored vinyl. The autographs on this edition are, basically variations on "Resident" in different handwriting. The East Side Digital CD release includes tracks from the EP Intermission. The current release omits these tracks, as Intermission has been given its own CD.
Hole-Workers at the Mercy of Nature
- Voices Of The Air
- The Ultimate Disaster
Hole-Workers vs Man and Machine
- Another Land
- The New Machine
- Final Confrontation