Can
Monster Movie


4.5
superb

Review

by ValiumMan USER (17 Reviews)
October 1st, 2006 | 16 replies | 5,686 views


Release Date: 1969 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Can's 1969 debut may not be as experimental as "Tago Mago" but is a more concise and rewarding experience.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Alright now, what do we have 'ere? Ah, it is "Monster Movie", the 1969 debut album by German Krautrock pioneers Can. Is it the one where this Malcolm Mooney-dude sings? Yes it is. So, is it good? Yes it is. Better than "Tago Mago"? In my opinion, yes.

Apparently, Can were compared to Pink Floyd a lot by the few people who actually knew about them, at the time this album came out. "hich is probably why "Monster Movie" is generally regarded as a release where the band "wasn't fully there yet" and "still had to reach form". Just to make that clear: I don't think Can sound like Pink Floyd at all and I think they were only compared to them at the time because there was nothing similar and people needed some kind of reference. One thing's fo' sho' tho': Can were the most experimental rock band (apart from Captain Beefheart) that had existed up to that point. And yes, they were more experimental than The Velvet Underground will (or would) ever be. All of the members had an avantgarde and/or jazz background. Thus, this album's sound is pretty strange and miles apart from the melodious, eastern-inspired Anglo-american psychedelia from the same period. Contrary to that, the four tracks that make up "Monster Movie" are pretty atonal and extremely rhythm-oriented most of the time. If it had come out sometime between 1982 and now, people would have labelled it "noise rock". In fact, there's quite some similarities to Sonic Youth's debut album "Confusion Is Sex". The opening track, "Father Cannot Yell" begins with one fast, looped organ note and a simple drumbeat and soon transforms into a high-energy maelstrom of Micheal Karoli's atonal, stinging guitar, Irmin Schmidt's sparse keyboards and Malcolm Mooney's manic preaching on the solid foundation of Holger Czukay's pumping bass and Jaki Liebezeit's tribal drums. You'll feel more like listening to some sort of voodoo ritual than a rock song. The second song, "Mary Mary So Contrary" is more melodious and less energetic than the rest and thus, is the album's worst track. "Outside My Door", on the other hand has not only a mouthharp that sounds like an accordion, but also a Mooney who damn near screams his lungs out. You gotta be crazy if you don't wanna listen to that! But then comes the album closer and undisputed highlight: The 20-minute long, improvised "Yoo Doo Right". This one is about 2 times as hypnotic and at least 45% more tribal than the rest of "Monster Movie", Mooney preaching himself into nirvana, Liebezeit impersonating an African tribesman banging on a wardrum and Karoli doing Thurston Moore before there even was a Thurston Moore. What amazes the most about this track (and the rest of the album as well) is how concise it is, despite being mostly improvised. I guess mainman Holger Czukay never let the rest of the band's playing meander too much, so that these songs seem more like workouts than freakouts. And that's what I disliked about Can's second effort (third if you count "Soundtracks"), "Tago Mago". Some of the tracks on that album were too stretched-out and/or too "avantgarde" to be enjoyable.

In concusion, "Monster Movie" is not as experimental or outright psychedelic as "Tago Mago", but is a more concise, focused, driving and ultimately more rewarding experience.



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user ratings (157)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
inpraiseoffolly (4.5)
A brilliant debut, to be sure. CAN have Malcolm Mooney on vocals here, but he lays the groundwork D...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Zebra
Moderator
October 1st 2006



2647 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

[quote=review]Can were the most experimental rock band that had existed up to that point.[/quote] Wrong. Captain Beefheart was much more experimental.
[quote=review]I don't think Can sound like Pink Floyd at all[/quote]
[quote=review]Irmin Schmidt's "Interstellar Overdrive"-style keyboards[/quote] That's interesting since Interstellar Overdrive is a Pink Floyd song. I also find it strange that you would compare this to Sonic Youth since the two bands have nothing in common.
That being said this was a solid review, you just made some poor comparisons and contradicted yourself once. This is such a great album, Yoo Doo Right is my favorite track off of this album and one of my favorite Can songs.


ValiumMan
October 1st 2006



493 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

1. Captain Beefheart isn't a band. :D
2. Just because I compare the keyboards to "Interstellar Overdrive", don't mean I think Can sound like Pink Floyd. What I wanted to express is that the keyboards are sparse and noisy, but I didn't wanna use the word "noisy" two times in one sentence, so...
3. I don't compare "Monster Movie" to Sonic Youth, but to their "Confusion Is Sex" album, which is vastly different from the rest of their catalogue, and in my opinion, bears some resemblance to this one.

But OK, I'll include Captain Beefheart and use the word "sparse" to describe the keyboard sound, if that makes you
Oh, yeah, @MrKite: Thanks, buddy ;) This Message Edited On 10.01.06

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2012



15878 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

comment number 3 oh dear

Digging: Nemrud - Journey of the Shaman

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2012



15878 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

everybody copied can

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
December 1st 2012



15878 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

can't can more canned loads recently am all canned out

Cygnatti
June 30th 2013



21349 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Lol menawati.

Just realized that captaindooright named himself after this ban. Interesting.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
June 30th 2013



15878 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

holynecrothread
what ban ? was the capt banned ?

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
June 30th 2013



15878 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh u mean the yoo doo song and named after band not ban um yes u could be right i spose

Cygnatti
June 30th 2013



21349 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I meant to say he named himself after this band. Lol.

But yeah. He's perma-banned for this entire fiasco that he conducted. You missed all of it too!

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
June 30th 2013



15878 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeh figured it out before you posted but damn capt perma banned thats grim news

Cygnatti
June 30th 2013



21349 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Damn. You got here right after it all blew up in his face too. Ugh, I'd explain more about this but I'm on the phone.

Okay, go ask jamietwort. He'd be able to explain this stuff. Oh and be sure to ask about the capt's many alts as well.

Cygnatti
June 30th 2013



21349 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this like a 3-3.5, but I feel like giving it more time first.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
June 30th 2013



15878 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yes a lot of their stuff isn't instantly likeable, try some of the later albums too they are a lot different to the first 5 or 6.
Don't be put off by the low ratings on here there's some great stuff on Flow Motion and Landed which sounds like it probably influenced Talking Heads a lot.

Riviere
September 19th 2013



670 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah most of their albums sounded like shit to me on first listen, and then the brilliance slowly unfolded.

TheBarber
December 13th 2013



1769 Comments


I love their first vocalist too, plus he seemed pretty psycho

Digging: Animal Collective - Here Comes the Indian

AcidCaravan
July 4th 2014



179 Comments


Fucking classic.

Digging: Smog - Julius Caesar



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