Blessed with one of the most remarkably affecting voices in all of pop music, Robert Wyatt — who made terrific records in the ’60s with British jazz-rockers Soft Machine and even more since then on his own — has settled comfortably into a routine of producing records whenever he feels like it. Dondestan, his first album since 1985’s Old Rottenhat, carries the same emotional resonance that makes his material more seriously engaging than most of today’s pop. Though the firm leftist stand of his lyrics — here he writes one half of the songs, his longtime companion Alfreda Benge the other — may seem jarring given the current state of political affairs, no one can sing lines like ”There simply/Is no middle ground/Pentagon uber alles” more convincingly than Wyatt. If there’s any downside at all here, it’s purely a matter of texture: Wyatt continues to employ the same drone effect he has used since his 1974 masterpiece, Rock Bottom, so his songs tend to unfold in slow monochromatic steps. But, lacking that album’s array of top-line players, his simple keyboard-percussion-and-voice arrangements may strike unsympathetic ears as monotonously wearing instead of hypnotically groovy. Just keep listening. There’s no one else like him. A-

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