This astonishing record was Wyatt's first release following his hospitalisation after the accident which left him wheelchair-bound. It's a drifting, introspective recording, with plenty of submarine textures and experimentation. Lyrically, it is very personal, much of it seeming to be love songs to Wyatt's wife. The “Alifib”/“Alifie” tracks in particular seem to depict Wyatt's helplessness and reliance on “Alfie” - his vocals descend in to baby talk before Alfie steps in and tells him to pull himself together.
Some say the album is harrowing: I find it life-affirming and positive, although Wyatt's vocals are often painfully vulnerable and human. The musicianship is superb throughout, with high spots including Mongezi Feza's trumpet playing and Mike Oldfield's superb guitar solo. Great line-up of Canterbury regulars, too, including Hugh Hopper, Richard Sinclair and Fred Frith. And, of course, any album with Ivor Cutler on it is essential. You need this album. (But don't get the compilation Going back A Bit – it includes all of Rock Bottom, but bizarrely puts it out of sequence).
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