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Birth Control - Increase CD (album) cover


Birth Control

Heavy Prog

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars The last album that should be considered a classic This concludes their progish trilogy (i'm not sure they thought of it that way) but also their period of grace (I must say I have never known about the following Titanic until I wrote this review , but just by looking at it, I am afraid that it sinks as well as its title - jumping to conclusion, moi? ) Anyway , most progheads should start out with this one and its two predecessors and , if they like it , move on to the first period.
Report this review (#28916)
Posted Monday, March 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars Probably frustrated by their jazzier leanings, Peter Föller jumped ship after the excellent BACKDOOR POSSIBILITIES. Ex-Message bassist Horst Stachelhaus replaced him, bringing drummer Manfred von Bohr. This left Noske free to front the band, and to stretch out on his ever growing array of orchestral and Latin percussion instruments.

Unfortunately, this is also where the band started to lose their way musically. "We All Thought We Knew You" is fairly uninvolving funk-jazz, but even it doesn't prepare you for the all-out disco of "Get Up!" (which some have suggested was recorded as a joke. I only pray they're right!) There's also ho-hum balladry ("Fight For You", "Until The Night") and the fairly ludicrous "Skate-Board Sue" to contend with.

That's not to say the entire album's a bomb. The organ-based "Domino's Hammock" offers a smidgen of their early hard-rock intensity, and the lengthy "Seems My Bike's Riding Me" is the album's strongest prog-rock moment. But it's definitely less than we know the band are capable of.

Report this review (#44974)
Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album is quite bizarre when compared to its predecessor. While "Backdoor Possibilities" was very inventive and multi-directional; this one is very much on the funky-jazzy side like during the opener ("Skate Board Sue"), emulating ELP during the intro of "Domono's Hammock" (which quickly turns out to a somewhat dull).

"Increase" does hold some of the fantasy that made "Backdoor.", so creative and interesting but the jazzy touches are too much to please my ears. And while not jazzy, the funky blues of "Fight For You" is hardly convincing. Vocals are still pleasant (this needs to be pointed out for a German band) and these harmonies are by far the best you can expect from this album (but this was also a feature experienced on "Backdoor").

I don't know if the band wanted to recreate the atmosphere of their predecessor, but IMHHO, they failed. Compositions are rarely impressive ("Until The Night") nor catchy. There is nothing I can do about it: I can't be thrilled with this song even if a good guitar solo saves it somehow.

If ever you would like to face the worse from "Increase", go straight to "Get Up!". An awful funky- disco "song". You know, the type of "Press Next"T one. Do that, for your piece of mind.

I can't really say that the end of this album is any better. "We All Thought We Knew You" is also vaguely disco-ish and is not worth your attention. You should stick to their early works or "Backdoor" to avoid major disappointment.

Even if the closing number seems to come out straight from "Caranvanserai". Above average, by all means.

Two stars.

Report this review (#165830)
Posted Sunday, April 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars There has never been an album quite like Birth Control's Increase-though i have not heard all of the group's records, upon hearing Increase, i was amazed at how unique it is. There are common influences associated with progressive rock here (and some that are not common). In the melting pot of influences, there is everything from a hard rock feel, to jazz-rock and blues-rock, and even funk in a few places, and it is the way in which they mesh them together that makes for a very uncommon and impressive record.

Increase is not as hard rocking as previous Birth Control records, but the band's instrumental prowess is still fully evident, and is something that makes the album cohesive, and qualify as a winner. (though Increase tends to be overlooked in the general, grand scheme of things)

What really drew me to this record was the song "We All Thought We Knew You", which is the lyrical highlight, and pretty impressive, instrumentally, as well with an interesting vibraphone solo in the middle of things. It was written as a tribute and memorial to the late Helmut Koellen, former guitarist and vocalist for Triumvirat who had died suddenly just a few months before this song was recorded. A sad and painful thing to deal with, but is dealt with sensitively, and with understanding. Luckily, on youtube is a live concert performance of We All Thought We Knew You from 1977 in Germany with Zeus B. Held and the band.

No, Increase is not exactly like their other ones, but definitely is worth hunting for and listening to-i guess i could sum it up as unique, spirited,and wonderful! i give it 5 stars.

Report this review (#296671)
Posted Sunday, August 29, 2010 | Review Permalink

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