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Satin Whale - Desert Places CD (album) cover

DESERT PLACES

Satin Whale

 

Prog Related

3.71 | 35 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Satin Whale was one of those bands that never managed to transcend the 1970s, and because their sound was less original than their more adventurous Krautrock cousins they merit barely a footnote in Prog Rock history.

Which is a shame, because not every German band needed to be as seditious as CAN (to cite the obvious example: both groups hailed from the same vicinity of Cologne). To their credit, Satin Whale would later riff all over the Hebrew folk song "Hava Nagila" on their 1978 live album "Whalecome", which I suppose might be considered almost a daring act in Germany, especially when juxtaposed against the old minstrel tune "Camptown Races" (dooh-dah, dooh-da, so forth).

But that would be years later. The band's debut album in 1974 was a hard-hitting, heavy rock effort driven by the blazing guitar of Dieter Roesberg and the Hammond organ grunge of Gerald Dellman, with some breathy flute for added variety. Comparisons to early JETHRO TULL wouldn't be out of order, but any similarity is most likely coincidental.

On its own merits the album is surprisingly vital, perhaps too light on memorable melodies but full of muscular jamming, with the best moments reserved for when the singer takes a back seat and the music is pushed to center stage, as in the 13-minute album closer "Perception". The English language titles and lyrics don't lend it any distinction, however, and the band certainly doesn't sound very German, perhaps the key to their enormous success in their native country at the time. But that anonymity of style works against them in the long run: they might be just about anyone (except maybe Tull).

More than two years have passed since anyone reviewed a Satin Whale record on these pages. It might be another two years before the next review. They were always a band more comfortable in the present tense, following current fashions instead of setting new trends. But that doesn't mean they need to be completely dismissed, and this album in particular is well worth another listen.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |

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