A British musical duo consisting of Brian Poole (Renaldo) and Dave Janssen (Ted the Loaf), who collaborated on various musical projects during the early 1970's, before arriving at their distinct sound in 1977.
The music they produced was insanely catchy, a hybrid of berzerk Medieval folk tunes and foot tapping pop rhythms, rounded out with their own unique touch of madness. A list of instruments used on their various albums should help to illuminate where they were coming from.
Guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, flocdrum, glockenspiel, clarinet, Casio 202, pickle jar, hacksaw blade and Ted's metal.. ahem - comb.
Almost all of their music was recorded in Sneff's Surgery (probably one of their bedrooms). I have heard that Sneff was a fond moniker for their 4-track tape recorder.
Lyrically, their work matches the creativity of their instrumentation. Brian Poole once said that some song titles were inspired by intriguing phrases or snippets of conversation they came across, such as The Elbow is Taboo, Here's to the Oblong Boys or A Street Called Straight.
Quite a few of Renaldo's lyrical sections are direct literature references, culled from the likes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mervyn Peake, Samuel Beckett, and Alfred Jarry. One of their more interesting song titles, Hambu Hodo was inspired by a dilapidated fast food van, where several letters of the "Hamburgers, Hot dogs" sign had fallen off. The lyrics in this song are equally fragmented and appear to be taken from book titles.
"Ze an he ar o moto" is said to be from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Pirsig
"Srage ews an o he sar", Strange News From Another Star, by Hermann Hesse
"He on sho way fro omela" The Ones who Walk Away from Omelas, by Ursula K. Le Guin
Their first release, Struvé and sneff (1979) was cassette only and limited to a miniscule 250 copies, but it did garner the attention of the seminal avant-garde band, The Residents. This secured them a recording deal, leading to their first major (sort of) release, Songs for Swinging Larvae (1981). Further releases were,
Arabic yodelling (1983).
Renaldo & the Loaf Play Struvé and Sneff (1985). Re-mastering of that first cassette.
The Elbow is Taboo (1987)
Although they have released no new material as Renaldo & the Loaf since 1987, it is important to note that their music is somewhat timeless. Listening to their work it is quite hard to place exactly when it was recorded. Hence, they still have a fairly loyal, if small fanbase and all of their albums have since been re-released on compact disc.
If your tastes run past the experimental and well into the realm of the surreal, then you should find an hour of Renaldo to be pleasing absurdity for the ears. The bold claim that you have never heard music like this can be confidently applied here. They are simply and utterly unique.