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Orange Peel - Orange Peel CD (album) cover

ORANGE PEEL

Orange Peel

 

Krautrock

3.94 | 52 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars ORANGE PEEL was one of the earlier Krautrock bands to hit the scene in Germany's nascent progressive rock scene. Formed in 1969, this band from Haunau near Frankfurt am Main only stuck it out to release a one and done self-titled album before calling it a day allowing the band members to scatter and form or join other similarly minded bands. This high performance band consisted of Peter Bischof (vocals, percussion), Michael Winzkowski (guitar), Curt Cress (drums, percussion), Leslie Link (guitar), Heinrich "Heini" Mohn (bass) and Ralph Wiltheiss (organ). Bischof went on to join Emergency, Cress also went to Emergency as well as Passport and Atlantis. Mohn went off to Epsilon.

Famous in cult circles as being one of the earliest far out trippy heavy psych albums that dialed up the prog elements, ORANGE PEEL recorded its album in 1969 and unleashed its heavy psychedelic organ-fueled album in 1970. For such an early band, ORANGE PEEL went for the prog jugular with its opening track "You Can't Change Them All" which featured an 18 minute plus running time and showcased a heavier than usual twin guitar heft for Krautrock but really excelled at extremely knotty Hammond organ workouts that provided the psychedelic backbone. This is a vocal oriented album for the most part and all lyrics were in English.

With 18 minutes to kill, you better believe there is a lot of jamming improv going on with the main groove and accompanying instrumentation jetting all over the place. The incessant high tempo drive made this one of Germany's heaviest albums up to the timeline with a heavy hitting percussive drive and a distorted attempt at American blues guitar that in tandem with the crazed organ runs sounds as if the band was doped up on heavy doses of caffeine or whatever drug of choice was in fashion. Bischof's vocals, while not phenomenal, caught the vibe the band was going for which was all about one of the most progressive heavy psych albums of the era. The hangover must've been a doozy.

After the intense opener that pretty much covered side A of the original vinyl, the band calmed down a bit but only in relativity to the manic display of raw psychedelia of the first half of the record and focused more on lyric based heavy psych numbers including a psychedelic cover of The Nashville Teens' garage rock hit "Tobacco Road" only taken to the ultimate heavy psych extremes including organ finger gymnastics as if Keith Emerson had dosed too many blotters and gone friggin' bonkers. The closing "We Still Try To Change" is the second longest track and just dips over the 10 minute mark and returns to that oh so satisfying madman magic of the opening track with heavy guitar and bass grooves and powerful pounding organ slams with knotty time signature workouts and Bischof's slightly off tune pitch and manic vocal style. The tripped out ending of the album is the stuff heavy psych dreams are made of!

This album has all the ingredients that i should really hate. It's not ridiculously original nor does it take me to those psychedelic escapist routes to the stars but rather provides the ultimate conclusion of the heavy psych era in all its grand majesty. The album comes across more as a final hoorah for the 60s rather than ushering in the 70s but it's done so well that i am easily captivated by the spell that it casts. This is a band that i would love to go back in time and experience live as i bet these charismatic creatures really put on a great show. For anyone wondering if such a thing as progressive blues rock exists then this is one for you. Not quite as psychotic as Captain Beefheart's "Trout Mask Replica" but truly captures the zeitgeist of the drug fueled heavy psych experience.

4.5 rounded down

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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