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Join In - Kentalope Island CD (album) cover

KENTALOPE ISLAND

Join In

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.73 | 13 ratings

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Igor91
4 stars Join In were a relatively obscure German band that started out playing blues, then hard rock, and finally jazzrock/fusion. I was surprised to learn that even though they were active from the late 1960's until 1981, they managed to release only one album in 1974. "Kentalope Island" is a delicious slab of Jazzrock/fusion with a bit krautrock and psychedelia added to the mix. I came across this little gem on YouTube under the suggestions (I believe it has since been taken down), and was intrigued immediately. It is a grand album of jazzrock/fusion with elements of prog, krautrock, and psychedelia.

The first track, "Illusions", is a nice, upbeat jazzrock tune, with fine guitar and sax work. Like most German bands singing in English, the vocals are not the strong point here (or on any of the other songs), but actually not bad compared to others. Next up is "Do It Yourself," another straightforward, but good, jazzrock song. The third track, "Dreams," is the first change-up on the album. It is an instrumental jazz-samba influenced jam, with nice jazzy guitar strumming combined with some rock soloing. A good, chill-out, dreamy vibe. The next tune, the title track, "Kentalope Island," is divided into three movements. It starts out with the sound of waves gently caressing the beach, leading into a Pink Floyd-like intro. Then, a wind kicks up and takes you into a Latin drumbeat with a driving bass line. Next enters a distant sax, hovering over the drums and bass. A bit of a krautrock flavor in this part as well, as guitars and voices join in (no pun intended). Finally the third movement is blown in by the wind again, bringing chilled-out guitar, organ, and flute over a groovy 70's bass. Very spacey, trippy jazzrock envelopes it all until it gently ends with a few organ lines. An excellent, progressive track - and all in only 6:40 minutes! "

"Used to Play" is up next, and serves as a contrast to the previous track in that it is very energetic, with guitar blasts, cool sax work, and driving drums. The singing is also back on this song, but it takes a back seat to the musicianship that is on display. Sweet! The final original album track is "Fliwatuu," which is nice little jazzy ditty that serves as an nice outro to the original album. All in all a good album - but wait - thanks to Garden of Delights we now have eight more tracks as a bonus!

Bonus tracks on reissues tend to be made up of lame, throw-away singles, outtakes, and live recordings. Not here people. To be honest, two of the bonus tracks could have been left off, for different reasons (I'll explain later). There are eight bonus tracks, yes eight, totaling more minutes that the original album! Most of them are very good live and studio tracks of good sound quality, as you would expect from G.O.D.. Starting off the bonus material is "Bridge Street," a fine example of progressive jazzrock with catchy vocals and rhythms, along with nice flute work. The song also features an excellent breakdown section that just jumps and rocks. Next up is one of my favorite songs on the album, "I want to be a Bird." This song is a quirky krautrock number, that is both catchy and groovy (for krautrock anyway). The third bonus track is the excellent "Chicago Train" a funky, jazzy party tune that will make you want to get up and move. Even the vocals are pretty good here, you can barely make out their German accent! The number closes out with a rocking, funky breakdown with awesome, soaring guitar soloing. The next track is "Listen to the Story," another funky, proggy, jam that can really groove and jump - not easy to pull off, but they do it masterfully here. Next is "Airport Entrance," and what you'll immediately notice is the sound quality on this track is not as good as the previous bonus tracks. However, the song itself makes up for the lackluster sound. This instrumental track is a full-on, jazzrock monster. Here the rock overshadows the jazz and blows the the roof off of whatever building this was recorded in! Stunning musicianship throughout!

Up next comes the first bonus track that should have stayed in the vaults, "Friday Evening." This song is actually just a different recording (of lesser sound quality) of "Chicago Train" minus the superb breakdown ending of that song. Why G.O.D felt the need to include this track as a bonus I don't know. "Higher and Higher" follows and is a pretty good jazzy rock number with decent vocals. The final bonus track is "Circus" and is the second of the bonus tracks that I feel could have been left off. The song itself is decent, but the beginning displays a major flaw in the recording. It sounds as if the master tape had been "eaten" by a tape player, for it sounds all jumbled and like it's being played underwater. It only lasts about 30 seconds and the remaining 3 minutes or so of the song sound better, but if leaves one asking why.

I would sum up Join In's "Kentalope Island" as an obscure jazzrock gem worth checking out if you like jazzrock/fusion seasoned krautrock. It is a somewhat diverse work, yet still hangs together well - even the bonus tracks. I give it a solid 4 stars.

Igor91 | 4/5 |

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