Zappa the composer! Zappa the improviser! Zappa the humorist! Zappa the experimentalist! Zappa the guitarist! Zappa the provoker! Zappa the bandleader! Zappa the inventor! Zappa the ironic! Zappa the arena rocker! Zappa the conseptualist! Zappa the parodic! Zappa the romatic!
More than any of his albums, "Lather" reveals every aspect of Zappa's genius. The record company's veto of releasing it as it was back in 1977, and it's fate as a series of conceptually much less interesting "genre albums", is one of rock history's true tragedies. After such an illtreat, most artists would have given up even the thought of making more music.
But not Zappa. The reason, I think, is that Zappa didn't just make music. He WAS music. Like Picasso, Fassbinder and Miles Davis, Zappa is one of the very few artists who's art is impossible to separate from the man and vice versa. Nothing in this world could ever stop this man from making music. If he had been blown out to outer space or separated from the world on a desolated island, he would still have been making music. Should you have any doubt about that, listen to the "Lather" album. It's creative waterfall of inventiveness, ecclectism and stunning performances stands unsurpassed in the history of rock music.
You then may wonder why I don't rate "Lather" a five star album. Maybe I should, but in my opinion (don't shoot me!) Zappa never made a five star album. For that, his music is simply too diverse. I don't even think he ever sat out to make a masterpiece as such, his music is just one continuous, unstoppable flow of creativity. And even how much I will recommend this fabulous recording, I can't think there is anyone, no matter how ecclecting and accepting in musical taste, who can possibly like everything here.
Still, this momentous masterpiece belongs in every representative rock album collection.