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Can - Landed  CD (album) cover

LANDED

Can

 

Krautrock

3.50 | 96 ratings

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tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer
3 stars An apt title, given the journeys into space (Babaluma), another dimension (Future Days) and the most psychotic depths of the mind (Tago and Ege) that the previous albums took the listener on. This is the first Can album to sound, if not normal (which it really doesn't), then like they're trying to sound like something approaching "normal." Except for a big ugly mess at the end, and a surprisingly (for the better) heavy instrumental in the middle, these songs are all regular rock songs at their cores, and that's definitely a novelty for Can. Of course, that also means that the band loses much of its identity as the perpetual groundbreaking machine, churning out new genres and sounds for other bands to recombine into other forms later, and it definitely doesn't help that (with one exception) these "regular" songs aren't particularly interesting, but it's still kinda neat to hear Can breaking off into new (for them) directions.

"Vernal Equinox" is the aforementioned heavy instrumental, and it manages to rule immensely while taking a rather different route from the kinds of instrumental work the band had done before. Whereas Jaki and Holger are relatively subdued during the rest of the album (they no longer stand out as the most robotic rhythm machine in the world), here they get to sound like, I dunno, like the Deep Purple rhythm section in a particularly good performance of the jam section of "Space Trucking" (with the added bonus that Jaki gets to spend some time playing with his futuristic proto-electronic drum sounds). In other words, really fast, and really tight. Karoli and Schmidt, meanwhile, just go absolutely nuts on this track as foils towards one another, especially Karoli (this album may arguably be his peak with the band) who gets to abrasively shred like he had never been fully given the chance to before. The album, frankly, is worth picking up if only for this track.

The opening "Full Moon on the Highway" is also an all-out success, a song that would be a fine straight-ahead rocker with wonderful guitar work and a terse vocal delivery but that also has the voices in the chorus processed into oblivion and has neat effects in the low-pitched keys. Ever wonder what 60's hard-rock would sound like if done by Germans that looked as coldly decadent as the guys appear on the front cover? This is your answer, and the answer is creepily great!

The other numbers, unfortunately, aren't anywhere near as successful as those two. "Half Past One" can't help but bother the heck out of me in that Karoli doesn't seem to realize that speaking in near-constant pitch is not the same as singing, and this attempt at sounding "moody" (I guess) like the backing track just seems like total failure to me. "Hunters and Collectors" stands out to me in that Karoli sounds eerily like a German Syd Barrett at times, which makes this weird attempt at something resembling "poppiness" kinda enjoyable, but it would never be counted as a highlight for the band. "Red Hot Indians" is notable only for the strange presence of a saxophone, and the giant atonal sound mess that is "Unfinished" probably should have stayed unreleased (gee, I'm sure nobody has ever made that pun before). There are some moments here and there that more or less work, but as a whole, it comes off as a third-rate "Aumgn," and that's not a good thing.

All in all, while I'm not thrilled with much of the album, a *** seems about right because the two clearly good tracks are so wonderful, and the ones that aren't "Unfinished" are basically listenable. Regardless, don't sweat this if you can't find it easily.

tarkus1980 | 3/5 |

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