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Anyone's Daughter - Last Tracks CD (album) cover


Anyone's Daughter


Symphonic Prog

3.00 | 18 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
3 stars It seems that at least one streaming site is now including vinyl, since as far as I know this recording has never seen a CD release, and, judging by the abysmal sound quality, it badly needs a remaster. But, hey, never let lo fi get in the way of reviewing a pivotal archival release, or, er, a less pivotal one.

Historically speaking, "Last Tracks" is intriguing in that it brackets the original years of Anyone's Daughter's run in Germany, and, since they were a fairly popular and well regarded band during a nadir for prog, it warrants closer examination.

The group was formed in 1972 but no recordings are available from before 1977, while their first album "Adonis" was not released until 1979. The last 4 tracks here are culled from 1978, and three of them had never been released in any format until this 1986 "compilation". Their successful run lasted until 1983, concluding with the gutsy neo prog of "Neu Sterne", before they bowed out to better financed UK purveyors of the movement. Their vocalist Harald Bareth left for military service and eventually became a medical doctor. He reappeared in relatively recent times as guest vocalist on a couple of albums by INES. The first 5 tracks here are from 1986 sessions with a new vocalist Michale Braun, as well as a new drummer and bass player.

This is thus two half albums in one, and, believe me, never the twain shall meet. In the LP era they are two halves of an unholy whole, but in these streaming times no break is long enough to convey the infinite gulf. Suffice to say that the 1986 tracks bear no resemblance to even the poppier material on Neu Sterne, nor are they similar to the more modern hard rock of the band's reformation around 2000. Instead they resemble what one might have heard from the garage of GENESIS (the singers delivery is strongly reminiscent of PHIL COLLINS), AHA, or ROXY MUSIC during that time period. In all fairness, the melodies are decent, especially on "Too Much too late", but the robotic programmed percussion and the lack of even the basic complexity of the weaker tunes on "Neu Sterne" render them just to the good side of unlistenable.

Three of the remaining four tracks are really why you have read this far. "I Hear an Army" is Teutonic prog in the style of TROYA's one off of 1975, with sing songy meters but searing guitar leads over organ washes, and establishes the gravitas of the group's initial releases. "Sally the Green" is quality pop and represents an early version of "Sally" that would appear on "Adonis" a year later, so is somewhat dispensable. The remaining 2 tracks are the ones that are seriously worth all the cringing. "Ma cherie Marquise de Sade" is a rare instrumental in a frenetic style only occasionally explored further on subsequent albums. The Emersonian organ is the predominant feature, shouting Matthias Ulmer's dexterity to the skies, but the rhythm section is holding its own as well. I can hear snippets of what surfaced on the astonishing epic live bonus tracks in the 2010 release of "Adonis".

Still, "Window Pain" is even better and more representative of what the group would become over the next few releases. While the band is often compared to CAMEL and GENESIS, not without reason, they always struck me as owing much to the more accessible softer tracks from KING CRIMSON - think "The Night Watch", "Book of Saturday", or parts of "Lizard", and Bareth's voice is not the only reason. This monumental piece ebbs and flows through vocal and instrumental segments, the latter dominated by lead guitar even more succinct than most of what appears on the "Adonis suite", with string synthesizers soaring above and rollicking bass and drums underneath. The only reason I can think why it took so long to see the dim light of a bygone day is that the band already had one side long epic and they might have felt the pressure to change with the times. They did betray their ambitions again with 1981's "Piktors Verwandlungen", but that utilized the hook of Herman Hess narrative and, in terms of genuine musical excitement, does not come close to "Window Pain", a true lost classic.

I'm not sure if the price being charged for the few available LP versions is tenable, but hopefully more streaming sites will pick it up. Largely dispensable for the last tracks, but essential for the "first tracks", this rarely considered entry in the ANYONE's DAUGHTER discography contains two lengthy tracks that led to one of the pillars of early 1980s symphonic prog in Germany.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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