Nick Mason's Fictitious Sports

I put this album firmly in the camp of "just go with it." There is no explaining nor comprehending the title, the oddly low-effort Hipgnosis album art or the sometimes jarring juxtaposition of styles (primarily Soft Machine-style Canterbury rock, and Robert Wyatt himself even sings the majority, though jazz and prog get thrown in too just for startle effect). "Can't Get My Motor To Start" is an oddly fascinating way to begin, but like the protagonist car it takes far too long to get moving, and tracks like "Do Ya?" are just messy as well as perplexing. Likewise, "Wervin'" is best described as a recording studio DUI, though I like the musical impressions of panicked horns and headlights; "I Was Wrong" has a compelling beat, and the slower minor-keyed moments in "I'm a Mineralist" and "Hot River" are meaty and satisfying, but they're no less odd and there just aren't enough of them in this album's relatively short running time for a filling meal. The best way to experience these confabulatory competitions is with Mason's new mini-box set Unattended Baggage containing this, Profiles and his soundtrack from White of the Eye, complete with the pseudo-LP packaging presently in fashion for compact discs. None of the others are particularly strong albums on their own either, but like Fictitious Sports they have their moments, and at least you won't be paying much for any one of them as an item. (Content: mild adult themes on "Hot River" and "I'm a Mineralist.")