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Robert Wyatt - Comicopera CD (album) cover

COMICOPERA

Robert Wyatt

 

Canterbury Scene

3.79 | 52 ratings

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fuxi
Prog Reviewer
5 stars COMICOPERA takes all the best elements from Wyatt's great (but terribly sad) 2003 album CUCKOOLAND and improves on them. Most of the 'usual suspects' play their part. Wyatt receives a lot of support from trombonist Annie Whitehead, double bass player Yaron Stavi and saxophonist Gilad Atzmon (one of the most celebrated young players on the British jazz scene); while Brian Eno, Phil Manzanera, David Gilmour, Paul Weller, Karen Mantler and even Canterbury stalwart David Sinclair perform guest roles.

The thing that strikes you about COMICOPERA is, first and foremost, the incredible joy in playing that pervades the album. Back in the seventies Wyatt had his first go at recording a (somewhat Mingus-like) jazz album of his own when he made RUTH IS STRANGER THAN RICHARD, but much of that album seemed half-hearted and everyone found it a disappointment after the superb ROCK BOTTOM. Now, a full three decades later, and after Wyatt himself has achieved considerable mastery on the trumpet (!), he has another go at the same kind of thing, and the result is exhilerating. "You You", "Anachronist" and "Be Serious" are all jazzy and superbly listenable. "Anachronist" features a whole army of Roberts singing irresistibly in the style of Hatfield and the North.

Back in 2003 Wyatt claimed he was taking up the trumpet because his voice was 'no more than a croak', but the OTHER thing you will immediately notice about COMICOPERA is how powerful and self-confident his lead vocals now are. If you enjoy Wyatt's highly idiosyncratic style, tracks like "Stay Tuned", "A Beautiful Peace" and "Del Mondo" will delight you. I even believe Robert has never sung better! His duet with Monica Vasconcelos on "Just as You Are" is one of the most refreshing things he's ever done - never mind the resemblance with a well-known 1970s hit song by Leo Sayer...

Apart from all those jazzy experiments, COMICOPERA contains a few typically surreal, melancholic ballads in which Wyatt gives voice to the feelings of people bewildered by life. And finally, I don't know how many of you are going to be cheering for this, but Wyatt the old Marxist is back as well: COMICOPERA ends on a latin-tinged, bitter-sweet version of "Hasta Siempre Comandante", Carlos Puebla's song in praise of Che Guevara.

All in all, COMICOPERA is an album to be savoured; definitely one of the best releases of 2007.

fuxi | 5/5 |

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