In exploring the recesses of prog rock, I’ve been unable to get into Soft Machine, a very influential English prog rock band and one of the founders of the Canterbury scene, as I find their music too dissonant for my tastes.
After leaving Soft Machine in 1971, Robert Wyatt formed Matching Mole, who put out two albums, their first in 1972. While much of their music follows in the Soft Machine vein, “O Caroline” is a beautiful ballad, the album’s first track, and a rather out of place one at that, as it’s the only traditionally melodic song on the album. (It is worth noting that this is only song on the album with music not penned by Wyatt, but rather by Dave Sinclair.)
The song is heavily infused with Mellotron sounds over a basic piano chord sequence. And that is almost always a winning combination. The fragility of Wyatt’s plaintive vocals also stand out.
David’s on piano, and I may play on a drum
And we’ll try to make the music work, we’ll try to have some fun
But I just can’t help thinking that if you were here with me
I’d get all my thoughts in focus and play more excitingly
I love you still – Caroline
I want you still – Caroline
I need you still – Caroline