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Amon Düül II - Wolf City CD (album) cover

WOLF CITY

Amon Düül II

 

Krautrock

3.92 | 209 ratings

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AdamHearst
4 stars This is Amon Duul II's best album. More well-crafted than their previous three rambling jam-heavy efforts, and more spacey and bizarre than their following works. This album is near perfection aside from a couple of rather dull failed experimental instrumental sections... but those mis-steps don't hurt the overall album because the remaining songs are absolutely stunning masterpieces of Krautrock.

I read somewhere that this album's two vinyl sides were reversed at some point, so the original side-A became side-B (and vice versa) after a mishap during the album's first re-pressing... and that altered tracklisting has remained on every re-issue since. I don't know if this is true or not, but I often listen to the album this way, and amazingly it actually does make the album flow better! So, that is how i shall review it:

The title track, 'Wolf City', is a favorite of mine... it is repetitive and hypnotic with a magnificently bizarre vocal delivery and odd wailing background voices that really make this song memorable and mesmeric. It has an inebriated, hazy, half-awake atmosphere that really draws you in and puts you in a strange (but happy) state of mind.

'Wie der Wind am Ende einer Strasse' is a low point: it's an over-long Indian-influenced instrumental that I guess you need to be stoned to enjoy. Unfortunately, I don't get stoned so this is simply tedious. Skip...

'Deutsch Nepal' picks up the pieces and is one of my favorite moments on the album... again, the vocal delivery here is insane and captivating. It features an angry German narrator with a smoker's cough delivering some sort of sermon... i have no idea what the meaning of any of this is, but it's so unusual one can't help but be intrigued.

'Sleepwalker's Timeless Bridge' is amazing! It's the most pleasant and melodic song on the album and features a beautiful droning ebow guitar solo near the end... the sound of fiery orange clouds parting to reveal heaven's gates opening. This solo is maybe my favorite part of the entire album.

'Surrounded by the Stars' is magical and epic. It goes from excellent heavy riffing verses to cosmic mellotron-rich bridges that make you feel as if the universe itself is beginning to pull itself apart... then there are fantastic dense dreamlike sections full of wonderful violin solos. This song should be considered a classic.

'Green-Bubble-Raincoated-Man' is another favorite. This is as melodic and as accessible as 'Timewalkers...' and features an awesome bass line that reminds me of Paul McCartney, and the song in general has an ambience similar to a lot of the songs from the Beatles' psychedelic years. That is, until, the rough and fuzzy middle guitar solo section kicks in... then it sounds like some sort of hallucinatory peyote trance ritual.

'Jail-house Frog' start off very good... but after the first 90 seconds or so it descends into a weird experimental noise collage similar to something from Atom Heart Mother-era Pink Floyd. I'll pass on this one...

I must admit that this is the only so-called 'Krautrock' record i've ever been able to REALLY get into, so i'm no expert on that scene... all i know is that I love this album and i consider it a flawed masterpiece.

Marred by two lesser songs, I will give 'Wolf City' a high 4 stars.

AdamHearst | 4/5 |

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