Robert Wyatt Cuckooland (Ryko/Outside) Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
It only takes a peek at the guest list on a Robert Wyatt solo record to see the idiosyncratic songwriter's peculiar influence. Paul Weller, Brian Eno and David Gilmour are all happy to strum in the background of Cuckooland as though it were some sort of all-star jam session, not another oblique, left-leaning pop record by the former Soft Machine drummer. Wyatt has always given an open-ended jazz feel to his solo sessions, and Cuckooland picks up just about where his breakthrough Shleep disc left off six years earlier. Brooding keyboards, rattling percussion, errant guitar and trumpet solos and Wyatt's own nasally voice combine for a kind of swinging, unsettling pop music. It's catchy, but in a very odd way.