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Kevin Ayers - Kevin Ayers & The Whole World: Shooting At The Moon CD (album) cover


Kevin Ayers


Canterbury Scene

3.73 | 89 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Out of character

Of all Kevin Ayers albums this is by far the most difficult to pin down, as it is much more diverse and challenging than the rest of his output. The reason for this is however obvious, this is not a Kevin Ayers album, it is by a band called Kevin Ayers and the Whole World. When you realise that The Whole World consists of David Bedford, Lol Coxhill, Mick Fincher and a certain Mike Oldfield, it starts to make sense why this album should be unique.

While Ayers is credited as the songwriter throughout, a number of the tracks or sections here are clearly band collaborations. I say "sections" since there are just four tracks in total on the album, with three of those tracks being made up of two or more distinctive sections. In reality, there is little to hold these sections together, and the album could have consisted of 10 separate tracks.

A couple of those sections fall neatly into line with the folky whimsical material which dominates most of Ayers' albums. " The Oyster and the Flying Fish", which features harmony vocals by the wonderful Bridget St John, and "Clarence in Wonderland" are both part of the same track and fall into this category.

On the other side of the fence, we have the freeform noises and sounds of "Pisser Dans un Violin" and "Underwater". These may help to give the album the progressive tag it undoubtedly warrants, but they are very much an acquired taste, and do not satisfy my palate. The first part of the track which concludes with "Pisser Dans un Violin", entitled "Lunatics Lament", however is a loud stonking rock track, which sees a youthful Mike Oldfield savaging his guitar in a way he has never really done since.

The final (title) track at first appears to be another "Lunatic lament" with distorted vocals, and hard lead guitar, but it quickly wanders off into SOFT MACHINE (Thirds) territory. The various lead instruments appear to be doing their own thing independently while an annoyingly repetitive theme drags them along. After the rock theme returns, a more orthodox keyboards passage restores order, and the album closes with a dramatic explosion.

For many, this is Kevin Ayers finest album. There is no denying that he is at his most experimental and eclectic here, but for me the results are something of a mixed bag. The uninitiated should approach with caution.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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