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Can - Out Of Reach CD (album) cover





2.38 | 74 ratings

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1 stars I've always been a CAN partisan, but not enough to forgive this listless, uninspired 1978 effort: proof that even the greatest bands (and CAN was one of the best) have their off days.

The cracks that appeared with the revamped line-up on their earlier "Saw Delight" finally burst open here, but don't blame newcomers Rebop Kwaku Baah and Rosko Gee (both ex-Traffic). Their arrival didn't upset the balance of talent all that much, but neither shared the same telepathic rapport, developed over a decade of constant playing together, that had powered the essential Krautrock masterpieces of "Tago Mago", "Ege Bamyasi", and "Future Days".

The new chemistry may have worked well enough on "Saw Delight", but that funky dance rhythm toward which the band had been moving ever since their semi-hit single "I Want More" always had a limited shelf life, and apparently didn't carry over to this session. And the album suffered even more without the guiding hand of Holger Czukay, CAN's founding bass guitarist and resident wild card. Listen to his first few solo albums, released at about the same time, to see what's missing here.

Maybe this stumble was overdue. After a decade of intense, sometimes phenomenal creativity the group (what was left of it) was clearly running on fumes, sounding as if they had forgotten, or (worse yet) couldn't be bothered to listen to each other anymore. Even on the improvised instrumental tracks ("Serpentine" and "November"), typically CAN's strongest suit and raison d' Ítre, the group sounds like they're simply going through the motions, eating up studio time in a rush to fill their contract obligations. And the other songs could almost be by anybody, not the sort of criticism normally leveled at a CAN composition.

In the end the title of the album proved to be more than a little prophetic, to the point where the band itself has long since disowned it. Spoon Records, the CAN parent company, is currently on a four-year schedule to re-master every album the band ever released, from their 1969 debut "Monster Movie" to the 1989 reunion "Rite Time", with the notable exception of this one. I've always had a soft spot of sympathy for it: the lost Little Match Girl of the greater CAN discography. But that doesn't change my opinion of it, sadly enough, or make it in any way a better album. Thankfully, the band would pick itself off the mat in time for another round (or two): see 1979's self-titled album, a.k.a. "Inner Space", and the 1989 "Rite Time" epilogue.

Neu!mann | 1/5 |


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