To some, Landed, Can’s seventh studio album, was something of a disappointment. It didn’t have the same experimental feel of Tago Mago, Ege Bamyasi or Future Days. And it was less arty than the jazzy textures of Soon Over Babaluma. In fact, the first track, “Full Moon on the Highway,” is a three-minute fuzz-rock song played in a fairly traditional rock ‘n’ roll style. It didn’t sound like the same Can. Oh, but it was.
All of the original members of the band were still active, save for first singer Malcolm Mooney, but as a quartet, they continued to make interesting and even compelling music. Landed is somewhat more accessible and more, dare I say it, straightforward than their previous discs, which may not have made it their creative apex. Nonetheless, the songs ain’t bad.
“Full Moon,” for being so, well, ordinary, actually rocks out quite a bit. And then there’s the exotic, eastern sounding “Half Past One,” with odd keyboards and Michael Karoli’s reverb-laden lead vocal treatment. “Hunters and Collectors” is one of the better tracks on the album, opening with odd percussive noises before zooming into an eerie, psychedelic ride led by Karoli’s tripped out vocals and guitar heroics. It drones and screams all at once, showing an odd juxtaposition, though one that ultimately makes for one of the album’s best tracks.
“Vernal Equinox” is noisy and peculiar, opening with pounding piano chords and some noisy guitar that sounded something like one of Sonny Sharrock’s chaotic freakouts. Ultimately, it’s just one long jam session, but it’s pretty cool nonetheless. “Red Hot Indians” follows, a saxophone-led percussive jam. It’s funkier, like the band’s older material, and offers yet another highlight from the album. The final track, “Unfinished,” is the long one, as there always seems to be that one. Stretching on for thirteen minutes and some change, it’s more oblique and ambient, utilizing lots of clicks and clangs, then giving way to keyboard washes and otherworldly screeches.
Landed is a little out there. It’s not as consistent as the band’s other records, but it’s still a fine listen. And thanks to Mute, we’re given a new chance at hearing it through better technology. It may not be Ege Bamyasi, but it’ll do.
Similar Albums/Albums Influenced:
Can – Monster Movie
Pink Floyd – Piper At the Gates of Dawn
Flying Saucer Attack – Further
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.