Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band
Lick My Decals Off, Baby


4.5
superb

Review

by TheJonneh123 USER (3 Reviews)
January 5th, 2014 | 19 replies | 1,489 views


Release Date: 1970 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Captain gets up to more Avant-Garde tomfoolery in this gem of an album!

1 of 3 thought this review was well written

This is the fourth album by Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band (the first time the band are credited so, on all prior reviews they are credited as "His Magic Band", people with awareness of the band will realize that description is far more apt). This was released straight after "Trout Mask Replica" and the perspective you have on that album will determine how you feel about this one, possibly, I don't wanna tell you how to think...not till you're willing to listen.

When all is said and done this album sounds extremely similar to "Trout Mask Replica", the only differences being this one only has Zoot Horn Rollo (Bill Harkleroad) playing guitar. This does make a difference, because your opinion of "Trout Mask Replica" could determine your view towards this, if you like "Trout Mask Replica" chances are you'll really enjoy this, if not, it isn't really going to change your opinion. One of the greatest features of "Trout Mask Replica" was the guitar interplay, which is gone. A highlight of this is that the bass is more prominent than before, although it doesn't seem as good as the bass work on Trout Mask Replica.

These complaints aside, this is still a fantastic album, hence the high rating. The lyrics seem to have slightly improved from "Kraut Task Triangular", and those lyrics were fantastic. The guitar work is fantastic. In a few tracks the cap'n 'plays' his sax and it creates an awesome dissonance (I mean "awesome" in the biblical sense of the word...AS IN NOT AWESOME AT ALL....biting Religious satire aside....) to the rest of the song, although the members used to complain about this obscuring their playing, which is fair enough. It's amazing how well these guys play though, it's its own type of music which needs its own type of playing. You can't learn this stuff in music school. Like in the album before, the tracks take some getting used to, although if you're used to "Trout Mask Replica" it shouldn't be too hard to adjust. These songs really meet you on their terms though, not yours, and if you can't dig it, then that's just too freakin' bad. And if you think I'm being a cock, that's the album talking, I'm just the messenger, and don't shoot the messenger, unless you're hungry....and a cannibal. A term often used to describe a lot of Post-punk music (in a way this is proto-post-punk) is "angular", but trust me guy, this album makes Joy Division and Gang of Four seem like bubblegum music. Musically. lyrically it's quite playful. The guitar playing can come across as sloppy at first, as if he's just, like, slappin' it or something, but, y'know, he's not, he's a genius, these commas gonna put me in a coma. No, no, he knows exactly what he's playing and exactly what he wants to achieve.

The guitars feature mild distortion, which adds to the music, the music is never in common time (y'know, it's not "common music"), and it's real herky jerky, almost robotic. The drum playing is something else though, it doesn't just hold down the music, you could listen solely to the drums and still have a good time, there's some real interesting stuff, just irregular playing that adds so much. OH! OH! A new feature to the music is the marimba, which can sometimes make the music sound a bit like Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. Only kind of though, there aren't a lot of similarities between them, Captain Beefheart's music has soul, sorry, Frank's music conveyed many thing (scorn, disdain, contempt, derision, mockery) but soul wasn't one of them. The bass playing is generally the catchiest part of the song, especially with its new prominence, although the whole album is catchy in its own way.

Okay, the lyrics, Don sticks to his surreal poetry as the lyrics, and it works really well, the title track is supposedly about sex (though Rear Admiral Cornlung refuted this), and I don't know what the hell "I Love You, You Big Dummy" is about, although the central refrain consisting of the title track sure leaves an impression. "Space-Age Couple" seems to target modern types at the time, who are too hip to care about the Earth, which the Captain urges them to do. It's a cool message. Overall the lyrics are surreal, also tapered! Nah, they're also witty, playful and completely original. Seriously, this Beefheart guy is like a genius or something.

These songs are particular highlights and help show what the album is like as a whole. First would be the title track, which welcomes the listener right back into the slightly tweaked world of Captain Beefheart with glee and aplomb! Then there's "Doctor Dark", which features some magnificent guitar work and a nice bassline, with hectic drumming and good, grizzly singin'. "Peon" introduces the listener to a new aspect of the band (post-TMR), acoustic guitar, which is nice. The aforementioned "I Love You, You Big Dummy" is the most immediate hooky song on the album, and is something to be checked out (further checking out should be done of the fantastic Magazine cover, ha, accidental wordplay,.genus...). "I Wanna Find A Woman That'll Hold My Big Toe Till I Have To Go", in addition to having the best title of anything in the history of forever has some nice marimba work and a melodic bassline. Those are the highlights, but the other tracks are good as well, hell, the whole thing is good.

So, that's pretty much it, normally when I'm recommending Captain Beefheart to total strangers I recommend the first album ("Safe As Milk") because it's relatively accessible, but if you want to be introduced to the Avant-Garde side of Captain Beefheart first I would probably recommend this over "Trout Mask Replica", because it's shorter and there's no spoken word poetry and dialogue (which most fans like but will probably be bemused by at first). If you then decide you like this get "Trout Mask Replica" because it's a masterpiece (I guess this is an apprenticepiece...whatever...). It is my personal belief that the only reason these albums are viewed as so inaccessible is because a lot of people didn't have a reference point. Trust me, in an alternative universe where everything would sound like this, The Beatles would be treated the same way as "Trout Mask Replica".


user ratings (110)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Brostep
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2014



3441 Comments


Hi, welcome to Sputnik! A few brief criticisms:

1. Delete those last two lines. They belong in the comment section, not the review itself.

2. LISTEN TO THIS CRITICISM - it will make your writing 500 times better. Here it is: DO NOT refer to yourself like you do in this review. Reviews should try to be as objective as possible. It takes mad practice to learn how to use "I" statements effectively, and I myself (as a contributor for almost a year) am decent but not great - and I've got almost 80 reviews under my belt. Saying things like This does make a difference for me, because like I said earlier, your opinion of "Trout Mask Replica" could determine your view towards this, me, I loved "Trout Mask Replica"" don't make me want to read your review. Pretty much cut everything related to "personal" opinions (read some staff or contributor reviews to get an idea of how a review should flow).

3. This is a simple one to fix, but please, for the love of God, fix it for your next review. Don't try to be cute. Here, I'll quote a few things for you:

Okay, enough shenanigans


Now that I've done trying (key word)


These complaints aside (of bacon!....I'll stop...)


PLEASE cut these out. In general your writing here is decent but saying things like these (and about a dozen more I could quote) make you seem like you're some 13-year-old dithering on in a shitty middle-school English "creative" paper.

Fix these things first and foremost - your writing will be SO much better if/when you do that. Good luck, and I'd love to see you around these parts more often!

Bieberfan20
January 4th 2014



24 Comments


lol

SadAndHolyGlow
January 4th 2014



1516 Comments


Not the best. I agree with Brostep on everything...

Digging: Johnny Foreigner - Waited Up 'til It Was Light

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2014



3441 Comments


if he doesn't respond then it's basically 10-15 minutes gone to waste :[

TheJonneh123
January 5th 2014



12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hi, sorry for not responding earlier, after I wrote the review I fell asleep. Thanks for your criticism, it was very helpful, I'm making some changes to the review right now.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
January 5th 2014



15906 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Beefheart is tough stuff to pick for a first review, good try, even tho what brostep said is true there is some informative stuff in there.
Also you didn't pick something really popular which has loads of reviews already on here.
So pos for that really.

Digging: Nemrud - Journey of the Shaman

TheJonneh123
January 5th 2014



12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, I wanted to pick something which no one else had reviewed and I really liked this album so it seemed to make sense.

Mad.
January 5th 2014



3695 Comments


I always love it when someone reviews something classic without a review, so Pos'd for that.

I'll add some criticisms of my own though:
You don't actually explain how our 'perspective will determine our thoughts' so that line doesn't make a whole lot of sense

In the third paragraph, the first sentence is about 10 lines long, you need to divide that up - use some actual full stops (or periods or whatever you want to call them)

That whole thing about "motherfucker being dicks" isn't funny or relevant, if you remove that your review will be shorter and nicer to read, because it is already pretty darn long

Generally the review is very informal and like verbatim, so I'd try and work on that next time...

Digging: Anubis - Hitchhiking to Byzantium

TheJonneh123
January 5th 2014



12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

All right, I pretty much agree, I was reading over some of those sections and kind of cringing at them, I'll probably change them soon. Thanks, by the way.

Mad.
January 5th 2014



3695 Comments


You have awesome taste by the way, especially with Hawkwind. You rated Onward far too low though!

TheJonneh123
January 5th 2014



12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, man. Yeah, I love Hawkwind, truth be told I've only listened to Onward twice though, maybe after further listening it'll grow on me.

Mad.
January 5th 2014



3695 Comments


The first 3 tracks of Onward, and some others like Southern Cross and The Drive-By are pure gold

TheJonneh123
January 5th 2014



12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'll definitely have to listen to it again. I saw them on November, they were touring Warrior on the Edge of Time, although they played a lot of other stuff, the set lasted about 3 hours, it was great, lots of Calvert era stuff, which suited me perfect. I'm pretty sure it was the same lineup which did Onward so I know it's a really good lineup, so I'll definitely give it another chance.

Mad.
January 5th 2014



3695 Comments


That sounds awesome, especially the length. Haven't seem them live yet, but the same lineup that did Onward did Blood of the Earth and Take Me To Your Leader. I'd recommend those albums, the latter isn't nearly as bad as the ratings would tell you - just read the review

TheJonneh123
January 5th 2014



12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I have most of the classic Hawkwind albums but I really need to get some of the newer ones, like the ones you mentioned. They're amazing live, loud too, I couldn't here a thing after leaving the venue.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
January 5th 2014



15906 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

get chronicle of the black sword if you havent already

undertakerpt
January 5th 2014



1267 Comments


Good idea - water slide

Bad idea - heroin needle slide

DikkoZinner
May 29th 2014



3005 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Space Age Couple

Digging: Skinless - Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead

ArsMoriendi
August 28th 2014



3875 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Space Age Couple" [2]

This album is so mixed for me.


Digging: R.E.M. - Lifes Rich Pageant



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