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Robert Wyatt - Old Rottenhat CD (album) cover


Robert Wyatt


Canterbury Scene

3.71 | 72 ratings

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3 stars Robert Wyatt's first album of new material in a decade was something of a mixed blessing. Like the subsequent Dondestan this is a completely solo work, aside from a brief vocal from his wife Alfreda Benge. As with most of his 80s work, the songs are explicitly political and reflect his hard line left wing views, and the lyrics are both erudite and witty.

The problem with this album is that it sounds very monotonous - having written a collection of idiosyncratic songs about a variety of topics rarely covered in popular music, Wyatt went on to sing them over a mid paced organ drone that scarcely varies from one track to the next. Only a couple of the tracks really stand out, East Timor (a 3 line attack on a monstrously under reported atrocity) and The British Road. Occasional details shine through, like the music box rendition of The Internationale or Alfreda's broad cockney 'I've got an 'at but it's not like that - old rotten'at!', but these are just brief interjections between the main tracks. There is some good material on here, but too much of it passes by in a blur.

The Old Rottenhat tracks were later re released along with a collection of non album tracks as Mid 80s, reviewed elsewhere on this site, which is probably the better purchase if you can track it down.

Syzygy | 3/5 |


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