Granted, the following video of Can is probably not considered representative of the band’s sound, but the revolutionary, political mumbo jumbo surrounding it is – I believe – a major factor in this band’s critical acclaim among rock snobs.
I can empathize with many of you who identify with the “socialist” stance of a Can or Henry Cow, with the “anarchist” stance of an MC5. It’s hard to give up on the belief that rock ‘n roll is important, and who better to uphold rock’s claims to social relevance than some avant-garde German hippies? If only these high-minded expressions were upheld in the grooves…
Any time I’ve tried to get into Can I’m reminded of those “tweener” Pink Floyd albums, when the Roger Waters-led band was trying to find its way as song sculptors. Here’s Can playing “Paperhouse,” probably on Beat Club, with all those snazzy psychedelic projections.
I guess this stuff was a huge influence on a lot of noisy, ’80s-era Homestead bands. Congratulations.
Here, on “Bring Me Coffee or Tea,” the band takes a stab at “Riders On the Storm” moodiness…minus anything that I can imagine would possibly make a listener care about the song.
Finally, here’s the band performing a song called “Spoon,” probably what inspired the ice-cold Austin indie band’s choice of name.
This is all right, and it’s a rare example of a Can song that I could see influencing Public Image Ltd., an influence that got me interested in checking out Can in the first place way back in 1981. Is this as good as it gets? Does singer Damo Suzuki ever add anything worthwhile to the band other than being a sexy Asian presence with great hair? Bullshit on Damo, if nothing else!
Thanks to my dissatisfaction with Can I did feel compelled to investigate other German bands from that time with much better results: the repetitive focus of Neu! delivered, Amon Düül II‘s loopy psychedelia is very cool… But Can? No Can do.