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Kevin Ayers - Whatevershebringswesing CD (album) cover


Kevin Ayers


Canterbury Scene

3.66 | 89 ratings

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2 stars Seemingly content to remain a cult figure (even among prog fans) Kevin Ayers will forever be linked to the music he made as a founder member of the Soft Machine. And yet his solo career should not be written off as a complete waste of time. Undeniably patchy, it nonetheless contains some joyous highlights. Whatevershebringswesing is his third solo album, and like Joy Of A Toy and Shooting At The Moon, it is full of whimsical early Soft Machine style tunes (A style that the group itself had abandoned by the time of its third album Third).

That strength though is also a weakness, because there is a certain sense of deja vu that one feels upon encountering this record, and surely 1972 was too early a time to start repeating oneself. I pretty sure though that my perception of this record is coloured by the fact that I own a 19 track Best Of Kevin Ayers which includes the best tracks here ... There Is Loving/Among Us/There Is Loving and Song From The Bottom Of A Well (as well as the less essential Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes). As such, Whatevershebringswesing the album seems like an unnecessary luxury to me, whereas a newcomer might well rate this album higher.

As I said, the real highlights are the symphonic, brass heavy There Is Loving/Among Us/There Is Loving which reminds me of segments from King Crimson's Lizard album and the eerie, cinematic Song From The Bottom Of A Well, which has a spoken-word performance, in which Ayers sounds somewhat like Leonard Cohen, that is gradually consumed by a barrage of jarring sound effects.

Passable, but non-essential cuts include Margaret, a delicate watery ballads with Ayers' deep baritone virtually talking his way through the song and a languid title track that's part Canterbury, part Engelbert Humperdinck! The afore-mentioned Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes is a jocular rocker that's strongly influenced by Lou Reed's compositional style, although an avant-garde piano solo briefly gives the piece a totally different flavour.

It wouldn't be an Ayers album without some misfiring silliness, though and Whatevershebringswesing gives us Oh My, a pub singalong with fiddle and a touch of big-band jazz and the drunken mock-country Champagne Cowboy Blues which, aside from a dizzying disjointed passage towards the end, is generally dull.

Despite the presence of the yet-to-discovered Mike Oldfield and a number of other strong musicians, this album isn't really gripping enough, and will only really appeal to converts of Ayers' particular brand of music. ... 46% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 2/5 |


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