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The Soft Machine - Fourth CD (album) cover

FOURTH

The Soft Machine

 

Canterbury Scene

3.46 | 237 ratings

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The Quiet One
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The logical follow-up to Third?

Yes, I actually think this is a logical follow-up to the grandiose Third. Does logical follow-up mean a better album? No, Fourth doesn't have the 'unique' feel the previous album had, it kind of repeats the previous album's formula. However, there is a change as you expect from the band, The Soft Machine was way into deep jazz grounds by this time, with even more brass musicians on board contributing which at times may remind us of Zappa's big band stuff, there's even a double bass player to let you know that this will be jazzier than ever.

Fourth is a 70s 'jazz' album which is played greatly as one would expect, also one expects it to be memorable, but unfortunately ths time the band didn't manage that very well.

'Teeth' for example starts as an energised jazz composition with extended sax playing by Elton Dean, enough change of paces to keep the listener awake, but overall it just seems to emulate past glories. It's a good track alright, the same goes for 'Kings & Queens', a much gentler affair, and the 20 minute four-piece 'Virtually' which was entirely composed by bass player, Hugh Hopper, but nothing really strikes you as genius as 'Moon in June' or 'Out Bloody Rageous'.

Only throwaway track would be the free jazz tune 'Fletcher's Blemish' composed by Elton Dean, but surely anyone fond of Coltrane's and Ornette's noisy stuff will understand something from this tune.

I would recommend this to anyone who really digs the jazz aspect the most from Third, they'll surely find something to enjoy from Fourth, I know I do. Also, anyone looking for a quality 70s jazz album, this is not a bad one but probably not the most unique one out there.

3 stars: Borderline to be a 2 stars, well-played and some fine compositions but not all that fresh nor memorable. Though a must-have for the band's fans, that's for sure, it's not bad after all.

The Quiet One | 3/5 |

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