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


The Soft Machine


Canterbury Scene

4.03 | 542 ratings

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Zac M
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This album deserves five stars for its importance in progressive rock. The trio of Wyatt, Ratledge, and Ayers (and guests) put down one of the finest albums in the Canterbury sub-genre. While I do not consider this to be my favorite Softs album, it still deserves at least four stars for its importance.

Soft Machine and Caravan, for that matter, were the the products of the Wilde Flowers. One camp went to form Caravan and the other to form Soft Machine. Soft Machine's first album is much more impressive than Caravan's debut in my opinion. Caravan got better with their second album, "If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You," which is also highly recommended. Now, on to the review.

The album kicks off with one of the best Wyatt-era Soft Machine tunes, Hope for Happiness. It is without a doubt a Softs classic. The next song is Joy of a Toy, another Softs classic, which also became the title of Kevin Ayer's debut solo album. It has all the major elements of an earlier Softs song. This track bridges with Hope for Happiness (Reprise), which recalls the first track on the album. Why Am I So Short? is a humorous piece in which Wyatt addresses the issue of his height. After that, comes the longest piece on the album, So Boot If At All. It's primarily a nice, jazzy instrumental piece with great playing by everyone in the band. A Certain Kind is a wonderful vocal number with excellent keyboards by Ratledge and a killer drum outro by Wyatt.

Save Yourself has some great distorted keyboard work with Wyatt taking over as main vocalist again. This track bridges into Priscilla a nice short psychedelic instrumental. Another vocal track, Lullabye Letter comes next. Again, each musician does a superb job. We Did It Again has what sounds like Wyatt and Ayers repeating the chorus with Ratledge covering the keyboard parts. Plus Belle Qu'une Poubelle serves as a nice intro into Why Are We Sleeping? Kevin Ayers deep vocals are a highlight of this song. The chorus itself is rather catchy as well. It's one of my favorites on the album. The album ends with a short Ratledge/Hopper tune entitled Box 25/4 Lid. It's a nice ending to one of he greatest landmarks in progressive music.

As before stated, this album is very important in progressive music, especially in the Canterbury sub-genre. This album is a great introduction to someone who is interested in getting in to Soft Machine or Canterbury music itself, for that matter. I feel that I would be committing a wrong not to give this album 5 stars. It is important and needs to be recognized that way. The creative juices flowing throughout this album are astounding. Each musician contributes a sizeable amount on the album. Truly a masterpiece. 5 stars all the way!

Zac M | 5/5 |


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