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Can - Monster Movie  CD (album) cover

MONSTER MOVIE

Can

 

Krautrock

3.77 | 215 ratings

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James Lee
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Almost everything I like about CAN can be seen in purest form here; the head-on meeting of avant-garde minimalism and raw acid rock experimentation. This album brings to mind both the DEAD & Prankster collaborations of the Acid Tests, as well as the VELVET UNDERGROUND in full "White Light" mode...but "Monster Movie" has an additional element, an intangible vibe that separates it from even the best of the psychedelic era's explorations. I suppose you'd call it...progressive.

Mooney is Can's version of Syd Barrett; his voice is unmistakable, he's headed for a breakdown, and his early contributions are dismissed by many fans. Sure, I prefer Damo's energy, but this album just wouldn't be the same without Mooney's ragged wail. Many rockers have expressed romantic desperation, but none have approached the level he reaches on "Mary Mary" or "Outside my Door". Orgiastic, playfully dark, and unabashedly honest, this is the Krautrock version of bands like COMUS- wonderfully primal, especially compared to the idealized realms and complicated structures of typical prog.

Instrumentally, CAN's albums have rarely been a venue for highlighting the members' respective virtuosities, and "Monster Movie" is no exception. It's more about what you can do with sound than about how well you can play; CAN has nothing to prove, except that they can sound like nobody else before or since...and the best part is that it's all real; there's an immediacy and unbridled feel that most avant-garde lacks, as well as a compositional restraint that owes more to impeccable musical understanding than lack of chops. They could make a tape loop rock, and that's really saying something.

Even if you ignore the historical details (this album started the career of one of the most unique and influentual bands in rock, as well as the entire subgenre of Krautrock), this is a wonderful album. It bashes the preconception that anything avant-garde can't be fun, or that anything fun has to be silly. The music here is equally suited to drugged-out dancing, contemplative appreciation, or getting full-on naughty. Five stars is a bit too much, even for fans, because CAN just isn't for everyone ( at their best, and they had more to offer than just this album)...but "Monster Movie" should be thoroughly enjoyable for anyone who doesn't have too many preconcieved notions of what music should be.

James Lee | 4/5 |

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