The first album by Daevid Allen's University of Errors took many Gong fans by surprise, as it makes a clean break from the light (some critics with bad intentions would write "cartoonish") space rock of the famous group. On Money Doesn't' Make It, Allen's lyrics lose their drugged-up naivete to become more viscerally engaged and urgent: the title track and its postlude, "Burn Your Money," attack capitalism head-on, while "Involve Me" gives a lesson to teachers: "Tell me and I will forget / Show me and I will remember / Involve me and I'll understand." Music-wise, exit the synthesizer swirls and booming bass: the University of Errors is an American acid rock band, dirty, gritty, and genre-pushing. Comparisons to Mushroom (with whom it shares members) and Escapade are in order, but also to a certain extent the Acid Mothers Temple (at least in spirit) and Salamander. Allen plays more guitar on this album than in all his output of the previous decade lumped together. The addition of guitarists Josh Pollock and Jay Radford contributes to the angular, often provocatively atonal sound of the album. The title track is a serious rocker that leads to a sequence of jams with semi-rapped vocals ("False Teacher" hints at reggae in the vocal delivery). "Involve Me" takes the form of an acid ballad, followed by the freeform raga "Mullumbimby Mother." That concludes the first half of the album. The second half presents a sequence of short, improvised variations on the "Money Doesn't Make It" and "Involve Me" themes, leading up to the postlude "Burn Your Money." Surprisingly forward-looking, this album proved that despite his constant nostalgia-tinged touring with Gong, Allen was still capable of reinventing himself. And the musicians he found in San Francisco concretize his reinvention with brio. The album lacks one or two more good songs to counterbalance the jams, something that will be fixed in future opuses.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture