The late 1960s was full of bizarre music and releases. The Soft Machine were no different, notably featuring the genius Robert Wyatt. It’s a classic of the 1960s all the same, so let’s check this out.
We kick off with Hope For Happiness which has a strange set of harmonies and organ being played. It’s odd, with an interesting set of melodies and sound effects. It quickly goes into an energetic and psychedelic hippy trip. It’s unlike very much of all the music you will hear in your lifetime. It then goes into a trippy organ solo. There are loads of tom-tom drum sounds here, too. All in all, an exciting and energetic listen. The harmonies are original and interesting, too.
It segues into Joy Of A Toy which has more trippy organ and booming drum sounds, before going into a wah-wah extravaganza that is captivating and exciting. It has an eccentric mixture of melodies and sound effects. Definitely 1960s here, and a nice piece to hear. Short and sweet, building up into an interesting climax. Great to hear.
Hope For Happiness (Reprise) comes next and has some melodies that Sufjan Stevens today would dig. Considering it is a reprise, it is very short, but enjoyable. It’s short and sweet, with a frenzied finish. There are backwards tape sounds here at the end as well.
Why Am I So Short? is probably a reference to a quintessential male question during adulthood. It has some awesome melodies and hooks, with references to rock music and similar recreational exploits to do with being a rock and roll musician.
It quickly segues into So Boot If At All which is an extended piece at over seven minutes. It has some pretty trippy sounds on it, and the drumming is just fantastic. This is music designed to trip on LSD to, no doubt about it. It’s a tremendous sonic effort, and was likely very close to being a live recording. It quickly goes into a trance inducing midsection with pulsating drums and quirky bass melodies. A great drum solo begins shortly after, which is awesome and well mixed in a stereo setting. Some interesting electronic sounds join in as well, along with some tapes of piano. An excellent and psychedelic trip to listen to. Some singing concludes this epic piece.
Next is A Certain Kind which starts with some proto-Led Zeppelin organ and some romantic lyrics. It’s a strange sort of ballad style tune. It quickly goes into some great drumming and percussion, with a slow yet laidback sort of tune to boot. There are multiple sections here throughout that make this interesting. Towards the end, the piece builds up to a large climax. Good stuff.
Save Yourself comes next, with some interesting melodies and a simple pop feel to it. The organ sounds in particular are really psychedelic. It’s short, but once again, a consistently good listen. Towards the end, there is a mixture of organ sounds and rock melodies that make this sound interesting.
Priscilla is an organ led instrumental that goes on just over a minute. Once again, the drumming here is really excellent. Another good listen.
Next is Lullabye Letter which is a longer song that comes across as a good, more pop oriented piece. Some of the melodies here are really fantastic, whilst the sounds and lyrics are really surrealistic and psychedelic. It’s catchy and listenable for sure. There is a tripped out organ solo in the middle. It’s a wacky, weird listen but a good one for certain. A catchy and memorable song. The outro is far out.
Following is We Did It Again which is a catchy and nonsensical pop/rock classic. The organ builds up in the song, making it the core focus of this piece. It quickly goes back into the song section, and alternates throughout between the two. This is more melody and texture than anything too variable. It is a refreshing and interesting listen all the same, however. Good song. It builds up to a super fast outro, and ends with a bang.
Plus Belle Qu’une Poubelle is a strange piece that follows with weird bass guitar, organ and awesome drumming. It’s very short.
Why Are We Sleeping? comes next and is a continuation of the previous song. A guest vocalist appears, narrating the song. It is about the odd dreams we have in our sleep. It goes between the narration and a chanted chorus. It’s a good song, with a good mixture of sounds and innovation here, and is, like the rest of the album, very enjoyable listening. It ends with some instrumental crashes.
Lastly, Box 25 / 4 Lid is a mixture of piano and organ to finish off the album. It’s an unusual listen, but then again, same is said for the rest of the album. Still, we conclude an excellent psychedelic journey here.
This is a very good listen, especially in retrospect as it sounds like a quality release from the late 1960s. If you love an eccentric psychedelic listen, this should be something you should hear. All in all, a good and wacky album. Robert Wyatt sings and plays drums here, and this is how he got started in the music industry.