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Sündenfall II - Sündenfall II CD (album) cover


Sündenfall II


Prog Folk

3.93 | 14 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Their sole release, the self titled `Sündenfall II' from 1972 is a charming and varied collection of progressive folk, with elements of psychedelic rock, jazz instrumentals, whimsical singer/songwriter diversions and haunting ballads. There's a rough around the edges appeal to the various electric and acoustic passages with a mix of male and female vocals, and an eclectic variety that should appeal to many folk/prog collectors. If you don't warm to some of the lonely and desolate oppression of some pieces, then the loose and uptempo colours of other tracks will be more to your liking. There's something here for everyone, and after being unavailable for almost 40 years, there's never been a better time to discover this talented band.

A wind-strewn and lonely harmonica greets Side A's `Warning', a slow and unhappy country ballad with stirring acoustic guitar, gentle flute, and a mournful male vocal from Timmy (aka Karl Timmermann). A touching and sad lyric with a truly haunting melody sits between extended intro and outro instrumental passages, and it opens the album in a very stark and dramatic manner. Flute, trumpet and acoustic guitar float through `Suddenly Sun'. Female singer Kerstin sounds like a folkier version of Grace Slick, all restrained fire and commanding confidence. Timmy comes in during the second half and backs her up for the dual vocal repeated chorus of a song with a reflective lyric full of vivid imagery. The first `Prae' section is a murky and somewhat ghostly piano/jazz interlude, containing just a trace of unease. Very addictive, and more of this to come. `Montpellier' is an upbeat acoustic stomper with lovely group vocals and shambling acoustic guitar. There's a lethargic weariness to the track that reflects the drunken lyrics and wistful words perfectly.

Album centerpiece `Dusty Road' is a shimmering psychedelic beauty. Hypnotic repetitive percussion, long drawn-out trumpet and stoned monotonous acoustic strums weave amongst droning male vocals from Cristoph and Timmy. `We are now on a long and dusty road...' they drawl over and over, reinforcing the hazy and wasted atmosphere of the piece. There's a very awkward and slow Jefferson Airplane-like electric solo over gentle spacey effects near the end that fits perfectly with the ragged tone of the track. The album is worth it for this shambling gem itself.

Side B's kicks off with the inspired and sprightly 6 minute jazz instrumental `Duftes Ding' with killer bass-work, dancing flute and tasteful energetic guitar soloing. Wailing sax, trumpet and swirling piano just keeps bringing the positive vibes and foot-tapping sounds. It's a nice break from the rather glum and heavier first side of the album, and although very upbeat it never drifts into schmaltz. What a terrific track, you never want it to end! It also sounds like nothing else on the album. They follow it up with the darker sophisticated `How To Get On' - just listen to that striking piano and harmonica throughout this somber piece. Lovely male/female group vocals in the verses mask what is a rather downbeat track, with a richly dramatic repeated chorus. The second Prae interlude compliments the first one well, an eerie flute solo with a hint of sinister threat. I love these sort of unnerving and bent fragments, I could listen to a whole album of them.

`She Lives In A Gang' is a repetitive near-comical acoustic ditty that, despite a strong lead male vocal, is a rather cheesy throwaway. Certainly the poorest thing on the album, but it's barely a minute and a half in length, so it doesn't stick around long enough to offend. I also have a feeling other listeners will find it quite cute and appealing! `Bloody Birds' is not a favourite of mine either, but I quite like the moody acoustic tension that brings a bit of danger. Timmy's vocals are full of life and story-telling expertise, and the frantic flute brings a bit more of that psychedelic sound back. Like the previous track, some listeners will really like this one.

The final `Prae' interlude is a dark and rough acoustic instrumental reprise of the `Irene/Warning' melody from the start of the album. A shame it's only 48 seconds's so delicate and heart-wrenching. `Solider Of The North' wraps the album on a punchy acoustic folk number that's rich with characters and old fashioned drama. Folk fans will really warm to this one, it sounds like a reinterpreted traditional poem or song but is actually another original work by the band.

Housed in a visually evocative cover illustration, `Sundenfall II's sole album is a treasured collection of bruised ballads, reflective vocals and restrained instrumental prowess. Now available on affordable reissued LP and CD's, there's never been a better time to look into this once rare and forgotten progressive folk work. It's an album that will gradually wind around and envelope you with it's haunted beauty, and it's become a treasured part of my collection that I'm so proud to own. Why not discover it for yourself?

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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