Review Summary: The sofa-albumFrank Zappa
was one of the musicians who opened doors so wide that even today he remains a great influence. Therefore, approaching a conceptual album that perfectly sums up the conceptual continuity of this genius does not deserve details to be forgotten. When Zappa launched One Size Fits All in June 1975, everything was calculated. Through the cover, music or lyrics, each artistic domain is explored to serve as a canvas for your ideas. Zappa, therefore, invites us to approach the record completely.
The album consists of nine tracks, one of which is entirely instrumental ("Sofa No. 1"). The band is impressive, without a doubt the best line-up of The Mothers: with George Duke, Napoleon Murphy Brock, Chester Thompson, Tom Fowley. Don Van Vliet's harmonica and Johnny “Guitar” Watson's unmistakable voice are there, but the predominance of Ruth Underwood's percussion makes it the real attention, especially in the introductory melody on Inca Roads. UFOs are on the program, like the cosmic flying sofa on the cover, and the quality of the composition is present, in its complexity, from jazz to the limits of prog rock. An album opening that differs widely from that of the brilliant Apostrophe ('); but humor and satire are present. The songs Can't Afford No Shoes and Po-Jama People, the latter with a deadly solo from Zappa's electric guitar, move away from the purely conceptual aspect and prefer to laugh at inflation or make fun of pajama users: these people who live without worrying about the progress of the world. It is then Florentine Pogen's turn, musically it is a good example of the Zappa style: fluid melody, decorated with variations, uninterrupted, alternating different patterns echoing in the voices of the Mothers. They juggle between the tones, we break the melodic figures, in short, the constant of composition that always proves convincing. In One Size Fits All, Evelyn, A Modified Dog is an equally servile version of the cyber bitch, despite her intelligence driven by a strong vocabulary (Arf!). The melody accompanies the lyrics, with well-spaced intervals; a short song followed by San Ber'dino recalling the court case in which Zappa was briefly arrested in 1965 for recording a fake erotic party. It continues with Andy, a funk-jazz song with a strong sense of humor; combining dense compositions and cynical intelligence, both act in secret throughout the entire album. Everything ends in apotheosis with the emphatic Sofa No. 2, a piece that closes the album on an epic and timeless note.
With this sofa-album, Frank Zappa managed, in 1975, to achieve the perfect self-referential album concept, synthesizing an incredible number of ideas already present in previous works such as Over-Nite Sensation and Apostrophe ('), among funny lyrics and compositions complex. A colossal work musically impeccable, balancing experimentation with miraculously accessible melodies. Possibly the best record of the latest incarnation of The Mothers of Invention.