Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band is essentially an act for rock theorists, loopy wordsmiths, far-out outsiders, former fans of the Fall, and those who saw him live back in the day.
"Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)" encapsulates everything that is irresistible about Don Van Vliet and his well-trained crack squad of long-suffering musicians. Frantic, signature-bending instrumentals, free-association Howlin' Wolf vocals delivered with inspired lunacy and abandon and oddly infectious (even pretty) melodies.
Just look at the range!
From the freaky outback nightmare of instrumental "Ice Rose" to the mounting insanity of "Owed T'Alex" (with that terrifying piratical "ah-ha-ha-hargh" refrain) and the speaker-unfriendly "You Know You're A Man."
Or how about the semi-disco dystopia of "When I See Mommy I Feel Like A Mommy" with its incestuous chorus, or the bouncing joys of "Tropical Hot Dog Night?"
The title track, entitled simply "Bat Chain Puller," is exceptional. The drum beat (which sounds incredibly modern, almost like a rap beat) is reported to have come from Vliet's windscreen wipers. The lyrics are simply outrageously funny and delivered with gusto from "rock's only dadaist" (not my words, hence the quotation marks).
Beefheart never made enough money from his music. Give him some. He deserves it with albums as outstanding as this.
P.S. I recommend newcomers start with "Trout Mask Replica" (separates the Beefhearts from the Weakhearts).