Can

Flow Motion

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The second of Can's three Virgin albums, 1976's Flow Motion, is a divisive record in the group's canon. It was their most commercially successful album (the opening track, "I Want More," was released as a single in the U.K. and actually charted, thanks to its smoothly percolating near-disco groove, which makes it resemble a late-period Roxy Music hit), but many fans dismiss it as the group's feint toward commercial success. That fluke hit aside, the charge doesn't really hold water. There's a newfound smoothness to the group's interplay, which Holger Czukay attributes to an interest in reggae music, yet the Caribbean influence is quite subtle; only on "Cascade Waltz" and, particularly, "Laugh Till You Cry Live Till You Die" is there a noticeable reggae lilt. The two highlight tracks are "Smoke," a wild, Moroccan-styled entry in their ever-growing Ethnological Forgery Series, and the limber title track, a ten-and-a-half minute instrumental groove that recalls the best moments of earlier albums like Soon Over Babaluma. By no means one of Can's very best albums, Flow Motion deserves better than its poor reputation in some circles.

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