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Captain Beefheart - Safe As Milk CD (album) cover

SAFE AS MILK

Captain Beefheart

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.87 | 124 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'Safe As Milk' - Captain Beefheart (6/10)

For someone who is considered among the weirdest artists in rock music, Van Vliet's first album 'Safe As Milk' feels rather tame. Indeed it is an album that would have been considered very 'out there' half a century, but as a modern listener, I am forced to approach this from a more contemporary perspective. Knowing Captain Beefheart through his association with Frank Zappa, hearing an album that is more about blues and rock n' roll than anything else was a bit of a surprise. Although not what I was expecting at all from this artist, it is an interesting piece of '60s blues rock, with enough experimentation to set it somewhat apart from other music of the time.

Although rooted very much in blues, Beefheart does make his forward thinking edge clear. 'Dropout Boogie' for example is a fairly conventional 12 bar blues, but Vliet's strange vocal inflections make the whole thing weird sounding. Others like 'I'm Glad' or 'Call On Me' feel like tracks taken out of the classic rock n' roll era of the '50s. Then of course, Beefheart hits the listener with another double dose of weirdness with 'Abba Zaba', an ode to baby baboons the whole world over.

Throughout listening to this, I am greatly reminded of the music of the Residents, and the way they deconstructed popular music with their own weirdness. As an album, 'Safe As Milk' has a few interesting things going on for it, but many of these tracks get rather irritating after a few listens; a possible testament to their playful weirdness. A collection of strange ideas from this musical madman, Captain Beefheart's 'Safe As Milk' was certainly a strange and creative album for its time, but in terms of actual listenability, it provides only some fleeting enjoyment.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |

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