New Robert Wyatt – “Just As You Are” (Stereogum Premiere)

Legendary psychedelic Soft Machine drumming vocalist and longtime solo artist Robert Wyatt is back this month with Comicopera, his first collection of new, woozy, ambitious studio material since 2003’s excellent Cuckooland (remember the cover of “Insensatez”?). As the “opera” in Comicopera might suggest, there’s something grand going on across its 16 tracks — the album’s divided into three Acts: “Lost In Noise,” “The Here And The Now,” and “Away With The Fairies.” Today we have “Just As You Are” for ya, the second song in Act I. It’s a lovely duet between Wyatt and Brazilian singer/songwriter Monica Vasconcelos with Paul Weller on guitar.

Wyatt’s leisurely, after-hours cornet really makes this thing … and well, his vocal interplay with Vasconcelos, and Weller’s lovely guitar, Yaron Stavi’s bass violin, etc. All-around gorgeous: The familiar lyrics/sentiments echo Hank Williams, Billy Joel, Earth Wind & Fire, Barry White, and so many other love songs, but sound fresh and differently angled. (The song returns later, backwards in Act 3’s “‘Fragment,” a ghostly, Stereolab-like imprint of its first incarnation.)

You’ve got plenty of reasons to be happy, sir.

Comicopera is out 10/8 on Domino.