Review Summary: No commercial potential indeed...
There are times when two completely different things do not mesh well together, like putting synthesizers over hard rock music. Another grouping that doesn’t work at all is the mix of Frank Zappa and “bad music”. On the original version of ‘Lumpy Gravy’, these two extremely polar opposites come together to make one of the, if not the most, disappointing piece of music Zappa has ever produced.
‘Lumpy Gravy’ contains several ideas from Zappa, and with this album, those ideas fail to gel, and in comparison to his work with The Mothers of Invention and his later work, make his work on ‘Lumpy Gravy’ look extremely unprofessional. From first listen, there is absolutely nothing enticing to the ear, which is unlike Zappa, whose use of odd instruments and quirky dialogue, made for a fun experience. On here however, none of those are present, making for an emotionless experience.
‘Gravy’ somehow manages to be sterile as well, with nothing lively coming out of the woodworks, making the extremely short album, all twenty minutes of it, seem as it was rushed with no aspirations of making any influence whatsoever on the buying public.
Not long after the original release of ‘Lumpy Gravy’, it would be pulled from retailers after MGM filed a lawsuit, claiming that the release of the album on Capitol Records violated Zappa’s contract with the label. The album would be re-edited and re-released the following year with new music and dialogue split into two parts. Considering the big difference between the two version of ‘Lumpy Gravy’, it was for the best that a superior version came along.
‘Lumpy Gravy’, unlike any of Zappa’s other material, manages not only to disappoint, but also to bore the listener as well. It is only essential for a hardcore Zappa fan looking to absorb every single note of his discography. Zappa named his project, which included this album, “No Commercial Potential”. When looking back at it, there is no potential in this album in any way.