Not the Pazz and Jop 1972 – #9

CAN – Ege Bamyasi

CAN is partly why I started this project. Not them specifically, since I had never heard of CAN or Krautrock, the catch-all geographic genre they are jammed into by the music press, before starting out. But the idea of them, and of a band and style of music I had never encountered, was as much a part of this as giving me a reason to finally listen to classic albums I had been neglecting.

Yet, here we are with another “WTF was that?” experience. This is one crazy record, a sort of discombobulated funk, with percussion the most prominent sound and a singer who usually puts zero effort into being intelligible. No two songs are alike. “Pinch” is a disorderly jam session, like the band was trying to figure out what to play while the tape was running, then gave up after 9 exhausting minutes. If you haven’t quit on this yet, there come three more accessible songs: the haunting “Sing Swan Song” and its little flutters gliding along your heart (sampled to amazing effect by Kanye in “Drunk and Hot Girls”), the chilled out “One More Night” has lounge lizard vocals low in the mix like he doesn’t want anyone to hear him, then “Vitamin C”, a dance tune for people who really came to sway. “Soup” goes from a lazy start into a funk rocker before turning into a spooky mess of weird demons howling from the underworld, as if they are actively working to make you not want to listen to this. “I’m So Green” has a 1990s Brit indie pop feel, like a blurry Soup Dragons, before ending with the gentle percussion and Middle Eastern-like sounds of “Spoon”, and a vocal that weirdly made me think of “Snoopy vs the Red Baron”. Overall, half of the run time (“Pinch” and “Soup”) is taken up by weirdness, but the other five tracks are pretty delightful, and would not be out of place on any more adventurous indie playlist. I will absolutely be coming back to this – we can all use a little weird in our listening life.

(Originally posted on Facebook, June 30, 2021)