STYLE: Canterbury Scene/ Progressive Rock
FORMAT: FLAC (Tracks + Log + .Cue + Scans + 5% Recovery)
SIZE: 252 Mb
THE BAND: Dave McRae - grand piano, electric piano, Hammond organ; Robert Wyatt - drums, mouth; Phil Miller - guitars; Bill MacCormick - bass;
Guest: Brian Eno - synthesizer
The album kicks off in a fairly experimental mode, with "Starting in the Middle of the Day We Can Drink Our Politics Away". The song consists entirely of the title sung over a repeated piano riff. Each syllable of the lyrics is held for so long that it takes the song's entire two and a half minute length to sing the title once and then again about half way through before the track abruptly ends. Oddly amusing.
The next four tracks all segue, creating what seems to be one long piece of music. The eight minute "Marchides" starts out as a blistering jam that wouldn't sound out of place on a Soft Machine album. It has a distorted keyboard (or is that guitar?) solo in the middle that gives way to a quieter and more composed sounding closing section that could still pass for Soft Machine. The album then shifts seamlessly into "Nan True's Hole", which produced an odd feeling of deja vu the first time I heard it — it turned out to be because The Muffins had snuck an instrumental cover version of it into their ProgDay set a year or two earlier. The main riff of the song is memorable enough that it stuck with me. This track in turn shifts into "Righteous Rhumba"; I wouldn't have noticed that it was even a new track if the lyrics hadn't suddenly started saying something about the Chinese. And finally the album side is rounded out by "Brandy as in Benj", a four minute piece with some catchy guitar riffing and lots of electric piano soloing. Very Canterbury sounding.
"Gloria Gloom" starts side two off with some very slow building, very spacey synthesizer experimentation from Eno. After a few minutes that gives way to a section where the balance of volume fades back and forth between a Wyatt-sung song and what sounds like three conversations going on at the same time. The overall effect is like listening to an annoying bootleg where the audience chatter often overtakes the band that everyone came to see but nobody's listening to. Finally for the last couple minutes, the song shifts back to Eno's spacey synth noodling.
"God Song" is a ballad sung by Wyatt over acoustic guitar and bass. The lyrics seem to be some sort of sarcastic advice to God, which normally I'd probably find amusing but I just can't concentrate on them because Wyatt's voice really rubs me the wrong way. "Flora Fidgit" returns to instrumental music that sounds more than a bit like Soft Machine. After a few minutes it goes annoyingly out of tune and then gets overlapped by the beginning of "Smoke Signal", another jazzy jam in the Canterbury style.
Overall, there's enough good music on this disc to make me glad that I bought it. But it's not one that I've gotten the urge to listen to a lot since I picked it up, and I doubt it's ever going to become a favorite.
1. Starting in the Middle of the Day, We Can Drink Our Politics Away (2:31)
2. Marchides (8:25)
3. Nan True's Hole (3:37)
4. Righteous Rhumba (2:50)
5. Brandy as in Benj (4:24)
6. Gloria Gloom (8:06)
7. God Song (2:59)
8. Flora Fidgit (3:27)
9. Smoke Signal (6:39)
Dave McRae - grand piano, electric piano, Hammond organ
Robert Wyatt - drums, mouth
Phil Miller - guitars
Bill MacCormick - bass
Brian Eno - synthesizer (8)
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