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The Soft Machine - The Soft Machine CD (album) cover


The Soft Machine


Canterbury Scene

4.03 | 523 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Soft Machine's debut album is a force to be reckoned with. As you probably know, this album shows the psychedelic side of the band, that was present before Robert Wyatt left the band. Compared to the very tight compositions you've come to know and love off groups like ELP and Yes, the loose, liquid feel of Soft Machine is somewhat refreshing, and extraodinarily entertaining.

There are no less than 13 songs on here, but many of these run together, and I personally only see 4 tracks altogether. These are Hope For Happiness (8:51), Why Am I So Short? (13:16), Why Are We Sleeping? (18:29) and Box 25/4 Lid (0:53).

The first of these, Hope For Happiness is the most cohesive track, as the verse and chorus reprises after the Joy Of A Toy interlude. This is a brilliant rocking track, with all the musicians on top form. Wyatt's singing is exceptional, and the way he urgently utters 'Hope for happiness!' in the chorus is just brilliant.

The second track Why Am I So Short? is brilliant, because it contains two self contained songs seperated by a long experimental instrumental, So Boot If At All. I particularly like the lyrics about being a drummer in the first part of the song, and the melody in A Certain Kind is exquisite.

Side 2 brings a long medley of many different songs, and can be a bit hit and miss in places. However, on the whole, it is a wonderful piece of music. The best part is the last, Why Are We Sleeping? which provides a dramatic closure to the suite. The speaker in this part of the song reminds me of the narator from Rush's The Necromancer. The brief Box 25/4 Lid instumental brings a close to the album, in a very experimental way indeed.

The original LP record was housed in a mint green sleeve, with a movable wheel on the front that you could turn to change which member of the band you were looking at. Unfortunately, there are no regular CDs that give you this option (although, there are undoubtedly Japanese mini-lps for this purpose).

After buying this album, I was pleasantly surprised at just how much I enjoyed it. This is one of the easiest albums to put on and just listen to for 40 minutes. Quite often I'll put on Hope for Happiness with the intent to play another song afterwards, but just leave it playing afterwards anyway! There's so much pleasure to be had listening to the combination of Robert Wyatt, Mike Ratledge and Kevin Ayers, and for this, I award 5 stars to the lucky trio.

baz91 | 5/5 |


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