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The Soft Machine - The Soft Machine CD (album) cover


The Soft Machine


Canterbury Scene

4.03 | 493 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars Wow, compared to most other reviewers, I am just not on board with what the Soft Machine is all about. Here is where they got their start, and things sure sound raw. My personal opinion is that if you take away Wyatt's drumming (which I also happen to find highly overrated), you'd have some truly terrible music here. As it stands, what we have here is lot of relatively free-form noodling on keys (sure it can be fast some of the time, but also sloppy and without much direction) coupled with off-key vocal wailings. Wyatt to me sounds a homeless man's David Crosby, with a raspy texture.

I suppose these guys did sound a bit unique in 1968, but given the powerhouses that would follow in the next year (Led Zeppelin, Santana, Yes, etc), it's no coincidence that they took a major drop in popularity: there's really just not much talent here (at least compared to the aforementioned bands), and they don't play that well together (certainly not at this point). Most of the time when they finally settle on a decent groove to build on, all goes quiet and they're back in free-form mode (the Hope for Happiness songs and So Boot if at All). The only song where they have decent interplay Lullabye Letter, and at least this points to future potential.

So, am I the oddball who just doesn't get it? Possibly, but after becoming familiar with a good deal of the Soft Machine's early discography, my take is still that Wyatt is the only real talent in the group (and for his work on drums only--certainly not the vocals). Even considering that this is a debut, and also taking into account historical relevance, I can't give this album more than two stars. If you like simple music (standard chords, lots of quarter-note playing) with an old sound and some psychadelic influence, this may be up your alley. If need the complexity that later prog offers, avoid this album.

Flucktrot | 2/5 |


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