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The Soft Machine - Volume Two CD (album) cover

VOLUME TWO

The Soft Machine

 

Canterbury Scene

4.01 | 332 ratings

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fuxi
Prog Reviewer
5 stars VOLUME TWO is my favourite Soft Machine album, no doubt about it! The Softs' debut album may have been charming but it's a little too "pop" to my taste, while THIRD (a double album) contains too much aimless noodling - although it does feature the gorgeous (Wyatt-saturated) "The Moon in June".

In VOLUME TWO the band reached the highest heights of pataphysics, especially with the gorgeous suite on the original A- side. Although instrumentation is minimal (bass, drums and keyboards), there are good tunes aplenty. Some have the bass as lead instrument, some the piano or the organ (both with and without fuzz-box), and Wyatt's drumming is bouncier than ever. This is essentially good-humoured music: most of the lyrics (which you will find on the Calyx website) are about partying, having sex, and recording in a New York studio - impossible to listen to without a smile. Particularly charming are the bits where Robert starts crooning in Spanish (he seems to have spent a lot of time in Majorca, with Kevin Ayers), and when he expresses his heartfelt thanks to the members of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, with whom the Soft Machine had been on tour.

Side Two is less striking than Side One although, in "Dedicated to You" and "Pig", it contains at least two songs that are both unforgettable and irresistible. The album as a whole is a must for anyone who's even remotely interested in the Canterbury Scene. In 2009, VOLUME TWO was finally remastered, and the brand-new edition sounds so brilliant the album can now be acclaimed as the masterpiece it clearly is.

fuxi | 5/5 |

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