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Robert Wyatt - Old Rottenhat  CD (album) cover

OLD ROTTENHAT

Robert Wyatt

 

Canterbury Scene

3.66 | 53 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Old Rottenhat" is the 4th full-length studio album by UK progressive rock artist Robert Wyatt (excluding the soundtrack album "The Animals Film (1982)" and the compilation album "Nothing Can Stop Us (1982)" . The album was released through Rough Trade in 1985. It had been 10 years since his last proper studio album "Ruth is Stranger Than Richard (1975)" and the intermediate years had been spend with various guest appearances on other artistīs albums, with playing live shows (with Henry Cow, HatField and the North...etc), with the release of a soundtrack album "The Animals Film (1982)", with the release of a cover song album "Nothing Can Stop Us (1982)", and with the release of a couple of singles and EPs. Robert Wyatt had also become very politically active and became a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1982.

His left wing opinions shine through a lot in the lyrics on "Old Rottenhat" and some might be offended by his outspoken opinions. I for example suspect some Americans will not find much pleasure in the lyrics for "United States of Amnesia" which is about the imperialistic nature of the American people (as seen by Wyatt) and the way they tend to forget who originally inhabited their land.

Musically "Old Rottenhat" is a welcome return to form for Robert Wyatt. The intrumental side of the album is best described as minimalistic keyboard/synth driven pop/rock songs with various percussion types and playing styles incorporated. As always itīs the way the tracks are build around the beautiful, fragile, and distinct sounding vocals by Robert Wyatt which is the real asset though. This is not "Rock Bottom (1974)" number 2, although thatīs the Robert Wyatt album "Old Rottenhat" mostly reminds me of. While "Rock Bottom (1974)" featured lots of guest appearences/session musicians, "Old Rottenhat" only features Robert Wyatt himself and thatīs audible. If thereīs room for a slight complaint itīs that the music can seem a bit too monotone and not varied enough. But it is a minor complaint and the feeling of monotony only sneaks in now and again.

Compared to his early 80s output, the big difference is that "Old Rottenhat" features a professional sounding production like the case was on his 70s albums, which to my ears is a great upgrade and a return to a more easily accessible format (in terms of sound quality). Itīs a bit funny to note that "Old Rottenhat" was released in 1985 because it doesnīt sound one bit like a product of the 80s. It features an organic sounding production and thereīs something timeless about it, which is something few 80s albums can brag about. Upon conclusion "Old Rottenhat" is another high quality and emotionally strong album by Robert Wyatt and it deserves a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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