Uncut (magazine) - "The Wilde Flowers, who floundered quietly in Canterbury in the mid-'60s, not only spawned a whole batch of England's finest songwriters and musicians, but an entire genre -- the Canterbury Scene, made up of jazz-tinged, psychedelically playful outfits...
Twenty-two tracks, recorded between 1965 and 1969 by various aggregations of the band. Some of the fidelity is primitive, and the performances are much more tentative and less virtuosic than what the musicians would tender on their Soft Machine and Caravan records. But the songs are playful and melodic, pushing the boundaries of the British Invasion pop they began with toward something more idiosyncratic and adventurous. Several of the songs, like "Memories" (three versions, considerably different from each other, are included here), ended up in the Soft Machine's early repertoire. Indeed, it's a shame that the Softs didn't record more of them; the chief flaw of these tracks is that the arrangements and instrumental proficiency are underdeveloped, and the Soft Machine could have transformed them into prime stuff. A few of the cuts were recorded in late 1969, and could have easily slotted in on the Wyatt-era Soft Machine albums. Wyatt and Hugh Hopper appear on most of the 22 tracks; to a lesser extent, Kevin Ayers, Pye Hastings, and even Mike Ratledge also pop up. Comes with an excellent booklet of photos and an extensive history by Wilde Flowers guitarist Brian Hopper, brother of Hugh. ~ Richie Unterberger