Third review by Soft Machine

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  • Released: Jun 6, 1970
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 10 (3 votes)
Soft Machine: Third
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Sound — 9
Ok, there's only one word for this album, "lifechanging." This is a 4 track album, yes only 4 songs, three of which are instrumental but it is one of those albums that only come along once in a lifetime. The Soft Machine was a jazzy fusion rock band, which is why this album is so extrordinary, because it is the first jazz fusion album. The music is truly exceptional. Lets break it down one by one: 01. Facelift - is a 18 minute instrumental dominated by keyboard and saxophone. When I first heard the fuzz organ in the intro, it gave me chills it was so different and unlike anything I've ever heard. It has to be one of the best instrumental tracks of all time. 02. Slightly All The Time - a Mike Ratledge piece which is great background music for pretty much anything you are doing. 18 minutes long. Starts out with a bouncy raw bassline from Hugh Hopper and turns into wonderful sax and organ solos. Not my favorite piece on the album but it is worthy of getting recognition. 03. Moon In June - my favorite piece from "Third", and the only track with vocals (sung by drummer Robert Wyatt). Very bizarre vocals but one of the best vocal performances I've ever heard. The first 9 minutes is nothing but vocals with a few organ solos. The last 10 minutes is that jazz fusion rock and completely instrumental, with the exception of the Kevin Ayers song "Singing A Song In The Morning" played in the background towards the end. 04. Out-Bloody-Rageous - possibly the strongest track on the album. About 20 minutes long, it starts off with keyboard bits that have been tape looped and about the 5 minute point is where the song kicks off. The sax and electric piano come in and basically changes complete direction. Mike Ratledges final piece for the album. One of the best instrumentals of all time in my opinion.

Lyrics — 10
Only "Moon In June" has lyrics. One of the best vocal performances ever by Robert Wyatt. 19 minutes long but worthy of listening to. A great tune. The last minute of the song features the brief Soft Machine member Kevin Ayers song "Singing A Song In The Morning". A very cool track, you can pretty much call every Soft Machine track cool. This is Robert Wyatts final vocal performance for soft machine and he does as good a job as anyone in the music business. One of the best alltime songs.

Overall Impression — 10
One of the best albums I've ever heard. For only having 4 songs which run for about 75 minutes, it is really successful. It won the Jazz Album of the Year award in England in 1970 and I can see why. If it were stolen from me, it's a no brainer to go buy again. Every track is standout but my favs would have to be, "Moon In June" and "Facelift". If you like this album, be sure to check out Soft Machine "Volume 2". One of the best alltime albums by the most underrated band in rock history.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Draft Morning
    I love this record. It's great to put on and paint, draw or make artwork to. One critic said that this was Britain's response to Miles Davis' electric period (Bitches Brew, Silent Way, etc.). I can hear that--but it's also something else entirely. Some of the most challenging "pop" music ever created.
    Draft Morning
    My favorite track on here is by far "Slightly All The Time". Brilliant jazz-rock, experimental, whatever. Vols 1 and 2 are also phenomenally great albums (I really like 2 also). Much more psychedelic--think early Pink Floyd, only much better muscianship. You can get them both on CD for the price of one, if you can find it.