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Can Monster Movie album cover
3.82 | 403 ratings | 32 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1969

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Father Cannot Yell (7:01)
2. Mary, Mary So Contrary (4:16)
3. Outside My Door (4:06)
4. You Doo Right (Live *) (20:14)

* Recorded at Burg Nörvenich, July 25th, 1969

Total Time: 35:37

Line-up / Musicians

- Malcolm Mooney / vocals
- Michael Karoli / guitar
- Irmin Schmidt / organ
- Holger Czukay / bass
- Jaki Liebezeit / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Wandrey's Studio

LP Music Factory ‎- SRS 001 (1969, Germany) Private edition of 500 copies
LP Liberty ‎- LBS 83342 I (1970, Germany) First commercial release

CD Spoon Records ‎- spoon CD 004 (1989, Europe) New cover art
CD Spoon Records ‎- SPOON SA4 (2004, Europe) Remastered by Andreas Torkler, track 2 with 6:16

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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CAN Monster Movie ratings distribution

(403 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

CAN Monster Movie reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by corbet
3 stars I must admit that I have always preferred CAN's later works to the early Mooney stuff, but this album (their first) has finally grown on me enough that I can say "I like it (a lot)." A few years ago I would have taken immense delight in describing how painfully disgusting Malcom Mooney's voice is and how the songs are all too raw and simple, even by CAN's standards. But Mooney's deathly croaking and the band's electrified exuberance make it all work somehow, and Jaki Liebezeit is a thrill to listen to as always. If you want CAN in a "tribal" mode, sounding at times reminiscent of the Velvet Underground, then this is your album (Delay 1968 is good too). If you prefer a more refined exploration of chaos, then check out Future Days or any of their Suzuki-period classics (don't ignore Landed!).
Review by Sean Trane
3 stars In his review, Mr Corbet makes a pretty good point about the Mooney period . One of the most striking feature of early Can is their Velvet Underground influences and in this album, this is quite clear. Among the similar characteristics between the two groups is the repetitive minimalist nature of their music.

You Doo Right although relatively fun and quite repetitive does not stand too many repeated listenings and the shorter numbers lack the genial quality of the Tago Mago era. Still a good lp

Review by Proghead
3 stars To me, this album sounds like many debut albums: they release a decent enough album but of course better things were to come with their following albums. This is also their most '60s sounding of their albums, no doubt helped by Michael Karoli's guitar, played in that late '60s acid rock style. Percussion is quite dominant, as you expect CAN's music to be, all courtesy of Jaki Liebezeit. And then they have a black American (from New York) named Malcolm Mooney handle the vocals. To me, I find his shrieking style a bit grating for my liking, making it a bit difficult to appreciate this album. But I can still see all the great ideas this band had like "Mary, So Contrary" and the bluesy "Outside My Door". And then there's the side-length epic "You Doo Right", which is basically Mooney repeating "You Doo Right" over and over with lots of percussion and strange guitar effects from Karoli. Irmin Schmidt adds some cheesy organ on this (and the rest of the album).

To me, if you're new to CAN, I suggest you try "Tago Mago", or "Future Days" to hear CAN at their best, before you come here.

Review by 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

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.

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Along with AMON DUUL II's "Phallus Dei", "Monster Movie" is the cornerstone of German "kraut-rock" scene and a fundamental work defining its sound and aesthetics. Recorded in 1969 it is still today an amazing piece of music. This is done by the original CAN line-up featuring Malcolm Mooney as vocalist and this is his only full-length album contribution. "Father Cannot Yell" and "Outside My Door" sound almost like "proto- punk" with mocking and spitting Mooney shouts and "dirty" guitar chords by Michael Karoli. Apart from VELVET UNDERGROUND, not many bands dared to question rock conventions during the peak of the "hippie era". Therefore, some prog purists may see this album as being too basic, rough and musically underdeveloped to their taste. But don't forget - such thing as "prog rock" did not exist in this period yet. "Mary Mary So Contrary" shows that even in this early period CAN were able to produce a melodic and quite catchy tune, which did not reach top lists probably only because of the geographic constraints. The psychedelic mega-jam "You Doo Right" shares company with AMON DUUL II's "Phallus Dei" and VELVET UNDERGROUND's "Sister Ray" - a noisy experimental hodge-podge that clocks over 20 minutes. It is a wonderful example showcasing Mooney's capability to use his smoke-ragged voice as a rhythm instrument or as a sound effect. It is a rhythmic and hypnotic trance-like composition, with bass and drums "beating 24-hour a day", but uninitiated listeners will probably get tired around the half, where drummer Liebezeit emulates the sound of metronome with his drum sticks and Mooney whispers his crying voice in agony. However, this is a wonderful debut album of CAN and one of truly timeless avant-garde rock efforts.
Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Dinosaur of Prog vs the Monster of Punk

This album is unique. It's quite incredible that this was recorded in 1969, as it feels completely timeless, and yet has an appeal for every generation. It will never sound like "old" music, yet it is the most basic and primaeval expression of music you could hope to hear. The raw energy and cyclically repetitive rock would have you believe that you were listening to some punk garage band from the streets, rather than a group of students of one of the most influential composers of the 20th Century and a free-jazz drummer.

But why would a free-jazz drummer instilled with the motto "Never Repeat" decide to move to the opposite of this lofty ideal?

Why would students of the very latest compositional techniques that were influential on every electronic group of the late 1960s, not to mention the Beatles and their experiments that led to outstanding albums like "Revolver" and "Sergeant Pepper", decide to produce music so apparently minimal and initially empty-sounding?

Communism, Anarchism, Nihilism.

You may be surprised at how much you recognise in this (and other) Can albums, as their back catalogue has been plundered again and again by bands in search of inspiration.

It's the primitive grooves that strike at the very heart of musical consciousness that do it - drum beats and cymbal splashes extracted from the soul of the human tribe, underpinning stalking bass lines that demand movement - and if you don't move to the bass, it does the movement for you. This is bass that is felt long before it is heard - and it's high in the mix, as Can were rather partial to bass.

Then we have the screaming layers of guitars and keyboards putting a crystalline icing on a fat cake, but in between, we have the vocalisations of Mooney, the hoarse- larnyxed chanting that rarely attempts anything so pretentious and arty as singing - but when he does, the effect is quite disturbing - a kind of Klaus Meine in baggy trousers, although I have to say that I have never been keen on hearing nursery rhymes used in rock songs no matter what the sought effect.

There is no point looking for structure in Can's music, so an open mind is required from the word go. Comparisons are often made of the music of P/I/L, Talk Talk, Primal Scream and Radiohead to Can - and it is from that perspective that the best appreciation will be made; If you're looking for riffs, then look elsewhere. If constant change and virtuosic displays are what you crave, then you won't find it here.

Indeed, "Outside My Door" is closer to some of the earlier White Stripes material - stripped-down essence of Blues Rock - albeit wrapped up in a Stranglers-like shell of heavy keyboards, thick bass lines and aggressive, punky vocals that hearken back to the Velvet Undeground. Oh, and THAT groove, that surpasses even the Ozric Tentacles in its groovetasticness.

The album is wrapped up with the 20-minute megalith of "Yoo Doo Right" that is the piece-de-resistance in every aspect. The vocals are rawer, the bass is bassier, the keyboards and guitars are stripped back almost beyond essence, and the drums produce the heartbeat of the earth - the self-same rhythms produced by Ug the caveman when he realised that whacking a rock with another rock made other people want to dance, and altering these just slighty would induce a rapt state in the dancers.

In fact, Liebezeit strips it right back to Ug's very first impacts, about halfway through the piece.


So how exactly is this progressive rock?

Everyone who knows anything about Prog Rock makes the distinction between rock music that is progressive, and music of the Prog Rock genre.

Monster Movie fits neither description comfortably - it is in a category more or less of its own, but at its very heart, it is a number of very lengthy jam sessions edited down in the studio - one of the techniques Stockhausen imparted, and indeed, a technique that would not have been possible without the innovations of that composer.

And that is the key: It is composed, but feels completely improvised because it is composed entirely from improvisations.

Review by Prog-jester
3 stars Just checked my genre review statistics and found out that I’ve reviewed only ONE Krautrock album (ELECTRIC SANDWICH’s Kraut-related stuff)! That’s shocking – I got almost 10 Avant albums reviewed, and only one from “that” German scene! OK, let’s take a look into early days of my musical PROGression.

I got “Monsta Moovy” from a friend of a friend of my father (who also got involved me into LED ZEPPELIN, JETHRO TULL and UK…and most of Classic Prog after all) 5 years ago. The album sounded pretty heavy, rough (almost proto-punkish) and stony. Psychedelic chimings like “you do right” or “Mary Mary so contrary” hypnotized me as well, and I got used to this mentally damaged stuff. I thought it was the most insane CD I ever experienced – what a fool I’ve been! There were 2 months left before my first introduction into KC, so I was happy and unaware ;). And, despite some over-repetitive moments (even for Krautrock), this album still works well for me. If you wanna “do tha legal trip”, you must check this one out. You won’t regret anyway.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars For me this album rivals "Tago Mago" as their best release. Probably the best guitar work i've heard from Karoli.

It opens with "Father Cannot Yell" that features a relentless beat and throbbing bass as Karoli plays over top with his fuzzed out screaming guitar melodies. Amazing ! Mooney stops singing and joins the groove 3 minutes in with vocal melodies. "Mary, Mary So Contrary" is based lyrically on the nursery rhyme. It's slower paced with Mooney's incredible vocals leading the way, as Karoli again grinds out melodies over top. The song builds in intensity until the vocals stop 3 1/2 minutes in. This song so moves me. How can something so simple be so emotional ? A brilliant display of guitar work on this one. "Outside My Door" opens with a 60's feel to it. Hmmm, this is 1969 right ? Harmonica sounds fill the air as Mooney almost speaks the lyrics. He then starts to sing as he and the song becomes more passionate. Some ripping guitar follows with out of control vocals.

"Yoo Doo Right" is a side long suite at over 20 minutes in length. The drums pound slowly as gentle guitar comes in followed by soft vocals. This hypnotic, repetitive melody starts to build. "Once i was blind, but now I can see now that your in love with me." The guitar 3 minutes in is killer ! Check out the drumming of Liebezeit 6 1/2 minutes in. Experimental sounds come in. Percussion and reserved vocals only 8 1/2 minutes in. The song rebuilds like it did in the beginning. Incredible. "You made a believer out of me babe". The vocals stop after 12 minutes as the guitar, bass and drums play on for about 3 minutes until vocals return. Nice.

The Can doo right on this one. I am more partial to their earlier stuff. These guys sure can groove though. As inpraiseoffolly says, this came out the same year as "In The Court Of The Crimson King". A very significant record not only in the Krautrock genre but in progressive music period.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Can really surprised me a lot. I am not an expert in Krautrock and I hadn´t heard about Can before reading about them in PA. I decided I would give Monster Movie a chance even though I read about the whole Krautrock genre that it builds a lot on repetitive rythms and prolonged acid rock jams, something I don´t normally favour. But boy did I learn a lesson ! This is great music and it must have been really innovative when it came out in 1969 ? Did they really make music like this in 1969 ? Well the proof is here and it´s great.

First of all the description of Krautrock as repetitive fits well here. It doesn´t matter though as this is the whole charm IMO. Can builds a lot of things on the rythm as the songs develop even though the basic structure never seems to change. It has a kind of hynotic effect on me and I would really have liked to have seen this band live after enjoying a good joint. I have to be in a special mood to really appreciate Monster Movie, but once the mood is right this is fantastic.

The first song Father Cannot Yell caught my attention instantly with the almost punk like vocals and the repetitive rythm which builds to a climax. Mary, Mary so Contrary and Outside my Door are also great Krautrock songs. Repetitive rythms but pretty melodic and varied anyway. The last song last for 20+ minutes and can be a hard one to swallow when you are new to this genre, I know it took me a while, but patience is rewarded in this case. You doo Right is a great repetitive jam like song. So much happens in this song. Malcolm Mooney sings in a lot of different ways and the guitar and keyboards make sure you´re never bored even though it´s almost the same rythm throughout the whole song.

Well what can I say ? I´m sold. This is really great music in my ears. What makes it even better for me is that I had expected something awful and got something ( beautiful wouldn´t be the right word here) special instead fully deserving the 4 stars I will rate it. This might even be upgraded to a 5 in time. Highly recommendable album from Can.

Note the beautiful cover art. Crazy stuff.

Review by horsewithteeth11
3 stars I really enjoy Can, and this album proves to be no exception. When I first heard of them on PA, they didn't really sound like my cup of tea. And the description of them having repetitive rhythms certainly didn't make me optimistic either. But having heard their discography from here to Landed now, I'd have to say my expectations were completely wrong. Can does have repetitive rhythms, but they're really good at building around them as a song goes on. Usually I have to be in the right mood to enjoy their material, but when I am it's absolutely wonderful stuff.

This album, Can's second release (since their first album Delay wasn't released until 1981) is a really interesting mix of experimental and acid rock. Many others have said that there is a punk flavor in Malcolm Mooney's voice and I would happen to agree with them. The opening song Father Cannot Yell is a great piece and really sets the tone for the rest of the album. However, there are a few things that bring this album down for me. The first is that I don't think the rhythm section of Holgar Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit is quite up to par in comparison to some of Can's later releases. It's not quite the same energy and I just don't enjoy it as much, which is bothersome as these two guys make up half the backbone of Can for me. While Mooney is a talented singer, I prefer the sound of Damo Suzuki's voice. It's simply a matter of taste for me. The third and final aspect of the album I find weak is on the 20 minute epic You Doo Right. Some of the parts of the song seem to go on a little longer than I would prefer. I also don't think it's as well polished as some of the later large improvised pieces they would later create.

All in all though, I used to think this album was no better than 2 stars. But I finally appreciate the sound of Mooney's voice enough that I can bump this up to 3, but barely. I'd advise starting with some of Can's later albums, especially the classic Damo ones.

Review by friso
4 stars The krautrock group CAN from Germany is one of my favorite experimental groups. On their debut album 'Monster Movie' (though an earlier album 'Delay 68' would later appear) the band offers a combination of psychedelic rock (think of Quicksilver and 13th Floor Elevators), early punk rock (like The Stooges and Q65), avant-garde and jam band music. Like on Miles Davis' 'In A Silent Way' the band would jam for hours and cut the tape into a twenty minute piece on side two's 'You Doo Right'. The album has an unbelievable 'mojo' and raw power to it. The opening track 'Father Cannot Yell' is a doomy psycho-beat track with great psychedelic electronics by Schmidt and a maddening vocal performance by Malcolm Mooney (the only band-member from the US). The fast minimalist bass-lines by Holger Czukay are in perfect sync with 'human drummachine' Jaki Liebezeit. The acid guitar of Michael Karoli is introduced as well, though his long vibrato notes would impress even more on the melancholy punk ballad 'Mary, Mary So Contrary'. Again, with an intense emotional, almost desperate performance by Mooney. 'Outside My Door' is perhaps a little more like classic psychelic rock; with a guitar riff that wouldn't have sounded misplaced on Pink Floyd's 'Interstellar Overdrive' and a Spaghettie Western harmonica loop. On side two the improvisational nature of the music allows CAN to have a more organic sound. The pace goed down considerably, in stead creating a more tribal and spiritual vibe - albeit a very gutsy one. The psychedelic guitars of Karoli have a great echoey Gilmourian edge to them. Mooney isn't the best of singers, but he has a presence that keeps the whole piece grounded and emotionally relevant. With this debut CAN offers an album that sounds rooted in all kinds of authentic traditions in ways that no other krautrock band ever had. The music on 'Monstermovie' is far removed from your typical symphonic prog, but unmistakably essential progressive music in my opinion.
Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After listening the late 60's "Delay" tapes, I had to prior this classic for instant listening. The minimal, trashy and anxious songs sound here slightly less powerful to my ears than the first more demo-level recordings. But also here the spontaneous and rough approach is strongly emphasized. The record kind of expands the American garage rock sound to further heights by expanding the track lengths and avoiding even more traditional rock song solutions. Third song "Outside My Door" maybe crystallizes this aspect most perfectly. "Father Cannot Yell" starts the album with neurotic beat slightly similar to jamming sounds of Jefferson Airplane (minus hippie-joy and openness) and 13th Floor Elevators (no jug...), added here with "migraine effects" and streetwise tales chanted by Malcom Mooney. Stinging acid guitar of Michael Karols does not give remorse but only forces to either accept or reject this music, where different variations within the main theme constantly shift and morph. "Mary, Mary so Contrary" starts as melodic and mellow, developing to really depressive directions via growing pressure of the hypnotic mantra's form. The fourth track "You Do Right" does a twenty minutes long trip to the world of collective groovy jamming, imaginative but still solid in variations, sticking up to the menacing repetition.

I think this music probably unites (rarely?) fans of vintage psychedelia and progressive rock with those also interested of roots of artistic punk and rhythm music related to the forthcoming paths of Krautrock scene. Maybe this factor added to sincerity, personal solutions and cool aesthetics have earned this group to become a real cult classic act with wide reckoning? I also liked Mooney's vocal presence on this band much; I understood he was hiding from Vietnam drafts, and hat to quit the performing as he grew concerned of being caught from a gig. I have seen amazing videos from forthcoming line-up's gigs with Mr. Damo Suzuki, but the studio recordings still wait for further listening. "Future Days" might be my next try, unless I should find much more live material from the band's 1970's career.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars If you get to hear this official debut after you've gone through Can's discography in a backwards way like I did, it is a strikingly harsh and dissonant adventure to say the least. It pretty much obliterates much of what they did afterwards. As I've pointed out in my Delay 68 review, for something from the 60's, this is downright visionary.

Father Cannot Yell is another example where these Germans have written rock history: droning rhythms, dissonant guitars, weird sonic experiments with organs and electronics, and the anti-tuneful but affecting croon of Malcolm Mooney. The influence of this sound would spread through all following decades. Starting by infecting early Hawkwind in the 70's, then post-punk and avant-rock like Sonic Youth in the 80's, then both post-rock and drum and bass in the 90's and many many more.

Mary Mary is entirely different. It reveals the Velvet Underground as one of their main influences. It's a more melodic track that doesn't sound at all like the anarchistic opener. Outside My Door is another peek at their origins: the psychedelic rock from 66-67. Interesting to hear where they were coming from and where they ended up when the track gradually evolves into their own sound: harsh, anarchistic and aggressive.

The main beast on this album is evidently You Do Right. With its 20 minutes it further expands the groundbreaking aspects of the opening track. Even though it's not easy to enjoy, it's essential to work your way through some Can albums. And this one should definitely be one on the list.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars The first impression that prevails while you're listening to the opening track " Father Cannot Yell" is a definite feel of proto punk music (although the track clocks at seven minutes). As such, I can cope with some comments that are related this debut with the Velvet. The crazy and hectic closing guitar part is a jewel in the genre.

Some ultra acid feel are experienced while you're listening to "Outside My Door". A dark psyche trip, a complex human experience. A musical battlefield.

Now, I can hardly feel great emotions while listening to this "Monster movie". Fun at best (but not for long), this album doesn't hold too many catchy items. The second side long "Yoo Doo Right" doesn't really bring any background to story.

I quite like the sub-title of "Certif1ed" review: "The Dinosaur of Prog vs the Monster of Punk". You et it all with this!

I rate it with three stars for its historical value. No more.

Review by tarkus1980
3 stars The frustrating thing about this album is that, in theory, it should be more or less as enjoyable as the other albums from Can's early period, since it shows the band already in its modal jam shtick, and since, at least for a little while, all four tracks seem pretty cool. Heck, at first glance it's not even necessarily obvious that the band is suffering that much with Malcom Mooney on vocals instead of Damo Suzuki.

Unfortunately, there are a few things that pop out on further listens that have come to irritate me. The first is a realization of just how little actually happens in these tracks. There are some blistering moments from Karoli, yes, but they occur at a far lesser frequency than they would on subsequent albums, and I'm really hard-pressed to think of many especially interesting moments, technically or atmospherically, that come out of Schmidt's keyboards. Furthermore, while the rhythm section certainly seems perfectly solid on this album, there's never a time on the album where I can step back and go, "Wow, now that is the Can rhythm section in action." In short, the group seems like a decent jam band here, but it's difficult for me to convince myself that they're that much more than that with this album.

This problem, as well as the little issue of Mooney as vocalist, manifests itself most openly and plainly in the 20-minute "Yoo Doo Right." At first, it seems like a pretty cool track; Mooney bellows out a small set of lines with passion, the band holds steady with a fairly hypnotic pattern behind him, and it seems like this is a classic in the making. But then it starts to become clear that the band, after laying a solid foundation, is going absolutely nowhere with this jam, and when you look at the clock and realize there are 15 minutes left in the track after seeing it's going nowhere, that makes for some rather discomforting listening. Furthermore, while Mooney's lines seem kinda hypnotic and resonant at first, there comes a point after a while where all he's doing is softly creaking them out in the background over and over and over again, as if he's not even paying attention to the rest of the band and isn't muttering to help the track but instead is muttering only because he can't get himself to stop. It's not enjoyable, and it's not interesting, so why should I want to listen to this track in its entirety again? I sure can't think of a reason.

The three tracks on the first side noticably better, fortunately, though still not quite at the "Classic Can" level. "Father Cannot Yell" features Karoli's and Czukay's fiercest, loudest, most pumping and best attacks on the album, and even Mooney sounds ok for the most part, even kinda helping things out whenever he climaxes into his "and the father hasn't been born yet hasn't been born yet" shtick. There's also that cool part where he starts making wordless "uh" vocal sounds in rhythm to the rest of the band, helping the band in kind of the same way Suzuki would later on. Yup, if there's a reason to buy Monster Movie, it's gotta be "Father Cannot Yell."

The band's cover of "Mary, Mary So Contrary," meanwhile, is rather lovely, if overlong. There's no real catharsis to be gained from it (unlike on much of the next album), and Mooney yells too much as the track goes on, but Karoli's guitar wails have a painful beauty all their own, so dismissing the track altogether would seem like a mistake to me. And finally, the side-closer, "Outside My Door," kinda sounds like what Barrett-era Pink Floyd would sound like if they decided to bring in a harmonica as a primary instrument, and except for Mooney's ugliness at the end, it's a nice piece of astral garage-rock (!).

Still, positives aside (and there are quite a few of them, to be sure), this is a really rough beginning for "The Can" (as they called themselves at this point). Some actually consider this to be the band's peak, but I can't buy that notion at all; there are simply not enough strong manifestations of the traits that would make Can so renowned, and there aren't enough quality "supplemental" traits to make up for the lack of the primary ones. If you're getting into Can's early period, this should be the last album you pick up. It's historically significant, yes, but not that much more.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A few years ago I had a bit of a Krautrock fascination which resulted in me purchasing quite a few Can albums without realizing what I was getting myself into. After listening to Tago Mago and Future Days it was clear that this music sounded nothing like the stuff that I was used to. The next album on my list was Monster Movie which was actually the album I was looking forward to the most due to the beautiful cover art.

Unlike my two previous experiences this album sounded much more like a product of the experimental rock music of its time. The closest resemblance would be that of The Velvet Underground, although, by this time, John Cale had already departed for then band taking most of the avant-garde sound with him. Still, Monster Movie has its fair share of originality with much longer compositions and groovy instrumentation Can created a completely different aura around them that will later be associated with the Krautrock-movement of the late '60s and early '70s.

The album kicks off with one of my all time favorite Can compositions titled Father Cannot Yell. This is everything that one would come to expect out of experimental rock, except for the energetic performance from Malcolm Mooney and Michael Karoli that kicks it up a notch and create one of the most trippiest, while energetic, performances of their career. Unlike most of the later Can material, this track can actually be enjoyed without the need of any vision enhancing pills!

The two other tracks on side one aren't really as exciting. Mary, Mary So Contrary sounds like a typical Lou Reed song from that period and had it not been for the underlying guitar work, that even features an excellent guitar solo, the whole performance wouldn't actually be all that interesting for a 6+ minute track. Outside My Door is just a straightforward Proto-Punk composition that almost sounds like a the Doors song, except with a guitar! At times it almost seems like the band is making fun of the Doors and their style but I might be just imagining it.

The album's side two is completely occupied by a 20+ minute jam called You Doo Right. This is where Can show what they go for and will continue to pursue over the next few years. According to Wikipedia the performance originally consisted of a six-hour long improvisation that was edited down to its current format. The music incorporates an almost hypnotic rhythm with Malcolm Mooney reading excerpts from a love letter over it. I'll leave my description at that since words can't describe the energy this track transmits through the speakers.

Monster Movie might at times sound like a product of its time but make no mistake since this album is definitely one of the corner stones of the Krautrock-movement and is a must-have album to fans of the genre and anyone who wants to broaden their music horizons. To me and everyone else its simply an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection!

***** star songs: Father Cannot Yell (7:00)

**** star songs: Mary, Mary So Contrary (6:19) You Doo Right (20:28)

*** star songs: Outside My Door (4:08)

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars Who knows if the authors of Japanese animes have taken inspiration from the sleeve design? Look if this is not a Jap robot....

However, while in 1969 bands like Amon Duul were making recordings of their trips, Can even being on the same line were already making music. "Father cannot yell" is initially based on a major chord, with a hippy flavour, but it falls slowly into a more paranoid environment. The song is driven mainly by guitar and bass, but the keyboard's stuff behind is already playing krautrock.

"Mary Mary So Contrary" (not quite) is a regular song. What makes it acid is the high pitched guitar (I'm not sure that it's not a keyboard). A psychedelic song based on three chords. A violin instead of the high-pitched background sound would have made it suitable for Curved Air, maybe.

"Outside My Door" starts rock-blues. Try to imagine Johhny Rotten singing instead of Mooney. The punks hasn't invented anything. Unlike some punks CAN can play, too. The screamed final is great. The heavy side of krautrock.

Now the side long track: "You Doo Right". I don't know if it's only me, but I think there's the story of the 60s in this song. The melody has some of Velvet Underground. Something makes me think to the west-coast psychedelics, but the background is totally mittel- european. At least for the first 5 minutes, then it becomes totally hypnotic and repetitive with bass and drums providing the base for the variations brought by keyboard and guitar. Then suddenly stop! Just drums and voice to make it restart. What appears clearly is that it's not just a long improvised jam session like Amon Duul were used. We have a long track with a structure and different moments. It sounds acid and improvised but it's a band's choice. At minute 12, more or less, the instrumental section is bluesy. Here is when the repititions are totally hypnotic. It's a sonic mantra that seems to go ahead forever. "Man you got to move on..." here I see the stoned live perfromances of Jim Morrison and the crazyness of early Gong at the same time. It's a pity that the spacey keyboard enters only in the last minute and just to introduce the distorted guitar. A disclaimer: don't use while driving.

Review by Sinusoid
3 stars CAN's debut album sounds like a band still trying to work the kinks out in terms of figuring out the roles of each individual and writing songs. This is not a bad first shot at an album of a band in its embryonic stage (to the point where they were referred to as ''The CAN''; reminds me of Pink Floyd's early history), but I came into the album knowing what comes next. CAN ironed everything out by TAGO MAGO (with a new singer, even).

MONSTER MOVIE can get rather uneven on its first side. The opening track is a garage/psych thriller that features the most interesting vocal breakdowns on any album in the middle of the track. ''Outside My Door'' does its job as a rocking track, but ''Mary, Mary So Contrary'' doesn't really work. It's tempo is too lulling and the vocals can get rather irritating (repeating Mary over and over and over...). I want to point out that I agree with the many Velvet Underground comparisons, mainly in Karoli's guitar sound.

The typical progster might wonder what ''Yoo Doo Right'' might be seeing that it's over twenty minutes long. It really is nothing more than a sidelong jam with little changes in structure other than a bizarre drum solo over the jam (very uncharacteristic of Liebezeit) and a spot where everything drops out except Mooney and a poorly recorded rim shot(?). ''Yoo Doo Right'' isn't horrible, but by the end of the jam, I'm looking for the exit signs. And it seems like Karoli and Schmidt disappear from the track about 2/3 of the way in. Interesting to note is that the liner notes of the CD version say that this jam is acutally an edited version of the original jam which ran for twelve hours.

MONSTER MOVIE laid the groundwork for what the band was to become in just a short time. I actually like most of what is going on here, but I feel like the songwriting/jamming is not up to par with what came later and the Velvet Underground nods are too unrefined. I'd recommend those new to CAN to seek out TAGO MAGO first and then come back here if satisfied. Nothing really mindblowing, but it's an experience worth sitting down with.

Review by Warthur
4 stars The first Can album melds psychedelic improvisation with repeating, mantra-like song structures inspired more than a little by the Velvet Underground's White Light/White Heat album (in particular, the unending, droning jam of Sister Ray), presided over by the impassioned, manic lyrics of Malcolm Mooney. The album's two highlights are Father Cannot Yell, whose proto-punk speed and energy makes it a clear predecessor to some of Neu!'s louder and rockier works, and the epic jam of Yoo Doo Right; Mary, Mary so Contrary's nursery rhyme lyrics and undeveloped backing grate after a while, whilst Outside My Door takes a Barrett-era Pink Floyd sort of idea and then doesn't do very much with it. Still, an excellent start for one of the foundational Krautrock bands.
Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars Although CAN had enough previous material recorded earlier in the form of DELAY 1968 which wouldn't see the light of day until 1981, they felt they needed to record more accessible material. Really? Was this accessible even in 1969?!! Anyway they would be amongst the first of the Krautrock bands who would put the emphasis on a hypnotic, repetitive and often improvised layering of sounds to make some pretty groovin' music.

It seems that mainman and bassist Holger Czukay picked up a bunch of influences when he visited New York City in 1966 and returned to Germany transfixed by the possibilities of a new sounding rock form. By blending the minimalism of Steve Reich with the psychedelics of The Velvet Underground with some healthy doses of blues, free jazz and world music he succeeded in creating a new music form that would become a major influence in not only the nascent Krautrock scene but on such disparate genres as post-punk, indie rock and even some electronic artists.

This album has a unique sound all right even within CAN's own discography. It is mostly high energy hypnotic funk and rock with the focus on repetitive drumming. I find this a very interesting experience with the weak link possibly being Malcolm Mooney's less than outstanding vocal abilities. The final track 'Yoo Doo Right' which clocks in at 20:27 on the album is actually the edited version. The original was a 6-hour improvisation. I can only imagine what kind of mass quantities of drugs that must have been consumed to sustain such a thing for that long!

Review by Kempokid
4 stars For those who listened to Can's later work and admired their amazingly groovy repetition in places, I feel like you'll enjoy this album greatly. While Tago Mago and the like may have had hypnotic, repetitive beats throughout the songs, this album takes it to another level in that regard, with each song almost solely being dedicated to a single rhythmic pattern and hook, and then repeated ad nauseum throughout the length of the song. As well as its extreme simplicity which ends up working wonders due to the highly groovy, hypnotic nature of the tracks, there is also a certain energy and manic quality to the songs, the latter definitely provided by the bizarre, unhinged nature of Malcolm Mooney's vocal performance.

Father Cannot Yell immediately sets the precedent for the kind of music thi album will consist of, starting off with a high pitched beeping noise while the instruments are all quickly introduced, with a creeping bassline, drumming like clockwork, and simplistic guitars. The aspect of the song that most catches my attention is the extremely irregular vocal rhythm that's present, seemingly going all over the place with little regard for tempo and time signatures, which is honestly really interesting sounding here. The only majorly shifting instrumental element of the song is that of the guitar, which sometimes becomes near cacophonous at points, with a constant ebb and flow providing for an interesting listening experience further heightened by the wonderfully quirky vocal breakdown halfway through. Mary, Mary So Contrary displays an entire other side of the band's sound, still applying the simplistic, repetitive and rhythm focused songwriting approach, but being much softer and with some more melody put in. The main thing I love about this song is that high pitched wail of the guitar, as it provides a nice bit of sonic depth to the song while the metronimic drumming continues on and on, making the back half of this song absolutely wonderful. Outside My Door, while less memorable and impressive than the previous two tracks, definitely has its own unique identity, with a surf rock style as well as a harmonica, so it's far from a complete write off. You Doo Right makes up the bulk of this album, and is definitely a strange song, taking the mentality applied to the rest of this album, but then stretching it out to 20 minutes in length, essentially providing a 20 minute long jam centred around key vocal hooks. I feel like it's pulled off quite well overall, being able to remain entertaining throughout, more or less exploring the furthest reaches of this particular groove and melody.

While some of Can's later works are definitely where I would gravitate towards, especially their excellent Tago Mago, I really love the stripped back simplicity here, and find that it's executed extremely well. Malcolm Mooney's vocal performance provides a certain charm to the albums that Damo Suzuki couldn't replicate, despite him being a far better vocalist and definitely having moments of further insanity than anything that they could dream of here. All in all, I do thoroughly enjoy this album and would strongly recommend giving it a listen after hearing the Damo Suzuki material from the band.

Best songs: Father Cannot Yell, You Doo Right

Weakest songs: Outside My Door

Verdict: Extremely repetitive, rhythm focused music with great energy in parts, while also being able to make it all sound extremely enjoyable. I'd definitely recommend starting off with the peak material of Can before moving on to this, but I do find it to be an album you should definitely listen to if you enjoyed the minimalistic nature of those albums.

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Report this review (#261031) | Posted by Neurotarkus | Friday, January 15, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars A friend of mine, an artist, looked at my acoustic guitar. It missed a string and was not in tune. He asked me to join his project. A collash that would include musical elements. My guitar would suit perfectly. He said that all sound is music. There would be someone, me?, playing some stupid riff ... (read more)

Report this review (#89235) | Posted by pirkka | Friday, September 8, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This Can album took me by surprise by how good it is, yes it does get a little reptitive, but it was early days and already they were pioneering song writing. 1969 was a big and very innovative year for prog; Frank Zappa's Hot Rats left his mark and influence on other prog albums throughout th ... (read more)

Report this review (#74254) | Posted by Cheesecakemouse | Thursday, April 6, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars You can probably fault this album as far as "compositional complexity" goes -- no monster keyboard solos ala Emerson or Wakeman or any of that rubbish. But in terms of "sheer enveloping sound" and GROOOVE it's a stone classic. So much of the great 80's underground/indie-postpunk owes a deb ... (read more)

Report this review (#54330) | Posted by | Tuesday, November 1, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Can, among other characteristics, is one of the few bands which have more than one (in this case, two) debuts. And this one is the second by recording, first by release date. Listening to Delay 1968, one may understand why Monster Movie was released instead of it, and still keep on wonderin ... (read more)

Report this review (#49825) | Posted by Bilek | Monday, October 3, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The first official LP is for me absolutely great! Every song is very oryginal and interesting. First - Father Cannoy Yell. Very claystrofobic interesting work with trans rythms and great vocal interpretation of Malcolm Mooney (I htink it's most interesting element of early CAN, that schizofrenic, ... (read more)

Report this review (#23203) | Posted by | Monday, April 11, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Fantastic first album from this most influential German band. The only full album that Malcolm Mooney sings on, it makes you wish he'd made more with them. Outside My Door is the standout track for me. ... (read more)

Report this review (#23195) | Posted by | Saturday, January 10, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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