Robert Wyatt - Old Rottenhat  CD (album) cover


Robert Wyatt


Canterbury Scene

3.66 | 51 ratings

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4 stars Old Rottenhat is the fourth full-length studio album by British progressive rock artist Robert Wyatt ( excluding the soundtrack album The Animals Film (1982) and the compilation album Nothing Can Stop Us (1982) which I donīt count as full studio albums by Robert Wyatt). The album was released in 1985 through Rough Trade. Itīs been 10 years since his last proper studio album Ruth is Stranger Than Richard (1975) and the intermediate years have been used with various guest appearances on other artistīs albums and live shows ( Henry Cow, HatField and the North...etc), the release of a soundtrack album The Animals Film (1982), the release of a cover song album Nothing Can Stop Us (1982) and the release of a couple of singles and EPs. Robert Wyatt had 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 this album and some might be offended by his outspoken opinions ( I can see a couple of Americans not finding much pleasure in the lyrics for United States of Amnesia which is about the imperialistic nature of the American people and the way they tend to forget who originally inhabited the land). The music 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 styles incorporated. The most enjoyable thing about Old Rottenhat is the fact that the songs are build around the beautiful, fragile and distinct vocals by Robert Wyatt though. The emotional impact on me when I listen to his vocals are as strong as ever on this album. This is not Rock Bottom (1974) number 2 though, even though thatīs the album Old Rottenhat reminds me the most about. While Rock Bottom featured lots of guest appearences, Old Rottenhat only features Robert Wyatt himself and I think thatīs audible. If thereīs room for a slight complaint itīs that the music seems a bit too monotone and not varied enough. But it is a minor complaint and the feeling of monotony only sneaks in very seldomly.

The big difference from his early eighties output and Old Rottenhat is the sound quality. The production is again professional like it was on his seventies albums.

Itīs a bit funny to note that Old Rottenhat was released in 1985 because it doesnīt sound one bit like a product of the eighties. Organic sounding and timeless. Old Rottenhat is another excellent and emotionally strong album by Robert Wyatt and it deserves a 3.5 to 4 stars rating.

UMUR | 4/5 |


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