soft ma­chine

Classic Rock - - The Hard Stuff - Paul Hen­der­son

Hid­den De­tails dyad

Jazz vets re­turn. Ap­proach, but with cau­tion.

With their first new al­bum in 37 years, one of Britain’s great, pi­o­neer­ing jaz­zrock groups have de­liv­ered a di­verse record that sounds fresh and mod­ern while also bridg­ing to their early-70s hey­day.

Most ac­ces­si­ble to rock ears will be the heavy­weight ti­tle track and the riff-based One Glove and Out Bloody Ra­geous (Part 1). The lat­ter – one of a hand­ful that show­case John Etheridge’s as­ton­ish­ing gui­tar play­ing – is a lively new ver­sion of a high­light of the Soft’s clas­sic 1970 al­bum Third, and links to­day’s quar­tet (as does the melodic The Man Who Waved At Trains) with their most lauded pe­riod. On the other hand, Life On Bridges and part of the not con­ven­tion­ally tune­ful Gound Lift might be a dif­fi­cult lis­ten for the un-jazzed ear.

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