Monster Movie review by Can

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.5 (2 votes)
Can: Monster Movie

Sound — 10
Can's debut is the only full-length, proper release that would feature the original vocalist in the band, Malcolm Mooney, whose radical sporadic ranting is matched by a raw, aggressive dynamic that stands alone and resembles nothing else in the group's canon; driving, dissonant songs like the extraordinary "Father Cannot Yell" and "Outside My Door" even owe a rather surprising debt to psychedelia and garage rock.

More indicative of things to come is the closer, "Yoo Doo Right," a 20-minute epic built on the kinds of hypnotic motifs and minimal rhythms that quickly became Can trademarks. There is a really different vibration happening here with elements of psychedelic rock meeting blues, free jazz formations and it even has proto-punk sounds going on a lot. They would in fact be one of the first bands known under the genre of krautrock with their experimental music that had electronic bits displayed in "Father Cannot Yell" and editing the sounds with merging effects and shades of avant-garde. The group was supposed to have released an album in 1968 called "Prepared to Meet Thy Pnoom" which was not released because of record companies refusing to do so, the album would appear as "Delay 1968" which was released in 1981.

Lyrics — 9
The Velvet Underground influence is evident with a John Cale-inspired "Father Cannot Yell" with that queasy, dubby bassline plowed the way for post-punk's birth. The credits for all the songs go towards band members Holger Czukay (bass), Michael Karoli (guitar), Jaki Liebezeit (drums), Malcolm Mooney (vocals), and Irmin Schmidt (keyboards). There is some great drone feedback offered on the opening track "Father Cannot Yell" approaches a more unconventional but enjoyable and lighter voice of Malcom Mooney with some more unusual but still enjoyable screaming punk guitar from Karoli and has that repetitive form of a psychedelic avan-garde working it's way into an electronic transe with unearthly keyboards appearing and more raging high toned screaming guitar.

"Mary, Mary So Contrary" portrays another side of Can in a delicate manner with a despondent song and profound vocals Mooney can summon with the lyrics riffing off of an English nursery rhyme called "Mary, Mary Quite Contrary" with meandering playing and wild guitar soloing and Mooney giving all he's got. "Outside My Door"  is reminiscent of the Yardbirds and other bands like the Rolling Stones with that blues harp and a really dirty and hard rock riff but yet turning it into something newly formed and not yet done, it takes from that old garage rock Rolling Stone mood but turns it into something that leaps forward becoming more modern. Side B is the notorious side-long epic that Can would later make a good name for. The 20-minute long "Yoo Doo Right" is pretty good and provides a showcase for Can's instrumental prowess, but it pales next to similarly lengthy tracks that they would produce in the next few years, still a great track with the forlorn vocals of Mooney seemingly in a scornful voicing of a bitter relationship it really shows all the spacey drugged out psychedelic rock that showpieces with mantra like vocal chants throughout and that primitive drum beat that just keeps rattling on and an ethereal soundscaping happening; just utterly fantastic.

Overall Impression — 10
There is even material from 1968 that is only being released now, the band tried to get a more accessible record achieved but I don't think this is for 1969, it's just really something beyond what most people were thinking and really is too ahead of its time. They would be amongst the first of the krautrock bands who would put the emphasis on a hypnotic, repetitive and often improvised layering of sounds to make some pretty grooving music. It seems that mainman and bassist Holger Czukay picked up a bunch of influences when he visited New York City in 1966 and returned to Germany transfixed by the possibilities of a new sounding rock form. By blending the minimalism of Steve Reich with the psychedelics of the Velvet Underground with some healthy doses of blues, free jazz and world music he succeeded in creating a new music form that would become a major influence in not only the nascent krautrock scene but on such disparate genres as post-punk, indie rock and even some electronic artists, and possibly Silver Apples (who were New York based).

This album has a unique sound all right even within Can's own discography. It is mostly high energy hypnotic funk and rock with the focus on repetitive drumming. I find this a very interesting experience with Malcolm Mooney's vocal abilities channeled in spirit. The final track "Yoo Doo Right" which clocks in at 20:27 on the album is actually the edited version. The original was a 6-hour improvisation. I can only imagine what kind of mass quantities of drugs that must have been consumed to sustain such a thing for that long!. It's that last track, however, that final half of the album which makes Monster Movie noteworthy; a straightforward precursor to Hallelluwah, perhaps. Malcolm Mooney is a fantastic vocalist, his voice cracks and scratches and wails as Kurt Cobain would much later, but while Kurt wailed in distorted misery in a smokey basement, Mooney wails for love (and what a fantastic woman it must be). Yes, even Sister Ray can do nothing but tremble in awe upon hearing the glory of "Yoo Doo Right."

0 comments sorted by best / new / date