Slapp Happy – Henry Cow

Reissue of unlikely 1974 alliance between would-be art-pop stars and Marxist Canterbury art-rockers

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Some music from the 1970s has not dated at all well, and this misbegotten album is a case in point. Throughout, the pop instincts of Slapp Happy mainmen Peter Blegvad and Anthony Moore seem stifled by the oppressive, dreary, sub-Brechtian politicking of the Henry Cow camp?and however good an interpreter of Brecht singer Dagmar Krause may be, she understands pop not a jot. Frustratingly, the tracks where Slapp Happy have their say unhindered-“Riding Tigers”, “Strayed”?are excellent mutations of Eno-esque meta-pop. The best track here is the quite spellbinding “Caucasian Lullaby”, a long, patient study in chordal decay almost worthy of Morton Feldman.

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