In 1966, when even the Doors and the Grateful Dead were still at a garage band level, Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention took great pride in being the ambassadors of freakdom. The hippie/flower power culture was just getting under way, but the Mothers' debut album found them already taking great delight in turning Aquarian imagery inside out. No starry-eyed rainbow people, the Mothers were the living incarnation of underground comics such as R. Crumb's Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers: nasty, ugly, and downright dirty.
Much of the musical template on this early effort is far more conventional than Zappa's later work. The framework is a blend of the avant garde, pop/rock, and, improbably, doo-wop, but it's overlaid with sardonic, subversive lyrics, bizarre instrumental touches, and an unrelentingly ironic sensibility. Along the way, the Mothers insert snatches of free jazz, bizarre sound collage, and parodic spoken-word, all with the aim of setting the nascent counterculture gloriously askew.
Includes liner notes by Frank Zappa.