Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Birth Control - Birth Control (1970)

First album for this German band which is playing a heavy psychedelic rock deeply inspired by Purple Mark I and to a certain extent the heavy keys play is rather similar to the one of Hensley (Heep).

The sound is a bit outdated of course, but there are some excellent numbers here. "Recollection" and the long "Sundown" are the highlights from their debut. Both feature great organ play and the latter has an excellent upbeat tempo. They are pure instrumentals.

This album also features some sung tracks like "No Drugs", "Deep Inside", "Foolish Action". And, surprisingly, the vocals are pretty decent which is not always the case with German bands.

The cover of "Light My Fire" fits perfectly well in their repertoire. The sound of the organ is of course not the Manzarek one, but I am keen to say that this version is quite good. Faster than the great original.

There is a CD version for this album. Released in 1997, there are four bonus tracks. They don't add anything extraordinary but these sixteen additional minutes are in the same vein than the original album. October is my preferred one.

All in all this is a good album. Very much from its time. Three stars. Review from Pogarchives.com


Songs / Tracks Listing

1. No drugs (4:01) 
2. Recollection (6:24) 
3. Deep inside (4:40) 
4. Foolish action (4:32) 
5. Sundown (10:02) 
6. Change of mind (4:42) 
7. Light my fire (5:40)

Total Time: 40:01

Line-up / Musicians

- Bruno Frenzel / guitar, vocals 
- Bernd Koschmidder / bass 
- Bernd Noske / drums, vocals 
- Reinhold Sobotta / organ

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Jethro Tull- Aqualung (1971)

It's a concept album without narrative conceit, a classic rock album with many layers of philosophical depth. Dirty urban imagery and ancient pastoral glimpses, blues-rock grit and folk whimsy, bitter social critique and tender domestic odes; so many contradictions and yet such a complete and seamless, almost effortless musical execution. If JETHRO TULL hadn't recorded any other albums afterwards, this album could have easily been seen as a fitting culmination; luckily for us, that wasn't the case, but even on its own merits, "Aqualung" is a fully realized, flawless experience.

Maybe decades of rock refinement have colored my impressions, but every time I listen to this album I'm struck with how uniquely they aproached composition. For instance, you can count on one hand the number of times Clive Bunker uses anything like a standard rock rhythm, and the typical verse/ chorus/ bridge structure is always subtly subverted. Even when Martin Barre plays identifiable blues- rock leads, it's barely resembles anything Hendrix or the Yardbirds alumni brought to the musical table. Anderson's vision and energy motivates the tracks; this is not meandering experimentation, this is a thoroughly developed and immediate sound.

I'm pretty stingy with the five stars, even when I'm totally in love with an album. "Aqualung" deserves every bit of the masterpiece rating, achieving accesibility without sacrificing an inch of originality or musicianship. Though other JETHRO TULL albums may be personal favorites, this one is a unique and thoroughly well-developed statement without a millisecond of wasted space or unneccesary embellishment. The hard edge was as heavy as anything in music at the time, but the range is far wider than that; the beautiful, reflective pastoral qualities and insightful social criticism are but the most obvious indications of the band's flexibility. Between the ragged immediacy of the preceding releases and the more polished and deliberate recordings that followed, "Aqualung" is the perfect balance.


Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Aqualung (6:31) 
2. Cross-Eyed Mary (4:09) 
3. Cheap Day Return (1:23) 
4. Mother Goose (3:52) 
5. Wond'ring Aloud (1:56) 
6. Up To Me (3:18) 
7. My God (7:10) 
8. Hymn 43 (3:18) 
9. Slipstream (1:13) 
10. Locomotive Breath (4:25) 
11. Wind-Up (5:42)

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