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YOU AND I

Amenophis

Symphonic Prog


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loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars For those who picked up the first AMENOPHIS album or read my review earlier will know that their debut album is amongst my fav's from the 80's German prog rock era. 5 years after the release of their debut album they re-formed with a slightly larger line-up including the addition of female vocalist Elke Moehrle who has a very distinct and kind sounding voice. Instrumentally "You and I" is a highly symphonic album and in many ways carries a sound not unlike the early ASGARD albums... but more symphonic and not as dark. Musically this album is keyboard centric but does still capture some excellent guitar, bass and drum interplay. Album contains both instrumental and vocalized songs which adds a nice variety to the album. Overall a fine album with some well crafted and original songs.

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#644)
Posted Sunday, March 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
silvertree
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Well, this album is, in my opinion, not very interesting as regards complexity or magnificence of harmonies, research etc... It is a disapointment when you consider their first album as symphonic. All in all what you have is neo-prog at its average and sometimes low (songs like "Ghostball" or "His special way"). The most interesting track is "Storm" but this does not justify the purchase of the album, unfortunately. So stick to their first album.

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Send comments to silvertree (BETA) | Report this review (#645)
Posted Sunday, April 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars It’s easy to be hard on bands that started off with the complex compositions and virtuoso performances that defied pop culture and instead embraced all that makes symphonic progressive rock such a joy to listen to; then later moved closer to more palatable sounds, or abandoned prog music altogether. Amenophis didn’t go so far as to leave their roots behind, but this second and presumably final album is a major departure from what drew me to their first recording.

The lineup is slightly different here with the addition of female vocalist Elke Möhrle, and with Kurt Poppe on keyboards and Rene Kius on drums both replacing founding member Stefan Rößmann. The sound is much closer to neo-progressive with the heavily sequenced synthesizers, simpler rhythms than on the first album, and of course with a lot more emphasis on vocals.

Stylistically this album is a crapshoot. The opening “Dance on the Pyramid” is majestic, keyboard-intensive, pleasant, and unfortunately misleading. The following “Forever Is A Long Time” starts off with a keyboard sequence that reminds me too much of Asia, and guitar work that could have come from Dire Straits. And then the lady starts to sing. I’m sure she’s a nice person and all, but this is pretty close to a new-wave voice, and combined with the already suspect rhythm section, I do believe we have a full- fledged neo-prog tune. “The Key Of Life” is more of the same, but one of the Thompson Twins have apparently taken over on vocals, or at least it sounds like they have.

“Classic Contact” is closer to the sound that made the band so endearing on their first album, but the tempo is much sped up, and the track is really too short to be fully developed.

I’m not sure what “His Special Way” was intended to do for this album. This is a combination of blues, cabaret, and jazz, with none of them being done particularly well.

The next two tracks actually manage to save this album from the cutout bin, in my opinion. “Interludes of Bright Weather” features wonderful introspective acoustic guitar, and strident, layered keyboard progressions that build and bounce around the rhythm section to create a Yes-like feel to them. This is a charming symphonic piece that almost seems out of place, but definitely ranks up with the best of their debut album’s tracks. And “Storm” succeeds despite the vocals, largely thanks to the fantasy- tinged lyrics, lush keyboard backing, and Marillion-like guitars that perform very well in a complimentary role. Both of these are too short, and this would have been a much better album if the first four tracks had been left out and these two had been developed into longer epic works to replace the first half of the album.

“Close To the See” had a chance to redeem itself like “Storm” did, but here the overly clever tempo shifts and cheesy vocals can’t overcome great keyboard and bass work. The closing “Ghostball” teases the listener with a regal feel, but is too short to develop into anything more than a postlude.

It’s really a shame the Rößmann’s couldn’t have stuck together for this second album, although as I understand it Stefan left due to health reasons, so I suppose this couldn’t be avoided. In any case, I’ll give this three stars largely on the strength of “Interludes of Bright Weather” and “Storm”. The rest of the album ranges from one to two stars at best. Only recommended if you are a fan of Amenophis, or are just curious. Otherwise pick up their debut, as that one is far superior to this swan-song.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#120840)
Posted Saturday, May 05, 2007 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars Amenophis only managed this one followup to the self titled symphonic masterpiece, and it was a major departure, as the band tried to do what they felt necessary to received radio play and better sales. Any additional sales turned out to be marginal, or at least not enough to allow the band to soldier on further.

After such an ethereal, cerebral debut, "You and I" is much more energetic, indeed poppy in parts, but retains the meticulous approach to arrangements. Vocals are more prominent and they attempt to be more sing-songy than before, where they really blended into the mix. Elke Möhrle acquits herself well on vocals, especially on "Tomorrow is a Long Time" and the very Renaissance like "Close to the See", where she trades off admirably with Wolfgang Vollmuth. Several fairly routine yet modestly progressive instrumentals help the CD achieve variety within a simple and highly accessible symphonic framework, as does the almost rap-like "Ghostball". The guitar and bass riffs make this the heaviest song of the group's career, although the competition in that department is scant.

For those expecting "Amenophis Part 2", you will be very disappointed, but for those who can suspend disbelief, or for whom the first recording was no great shakes, this is a pretty decent neo styled album. A visit to their website revealed a lot of tracks still in the vaults, some of them alot more progressive sounding than what is here, but, given the lag of almost 20 years, the band would need more encouragement than you and I alone could provide.

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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#163337)
Posted Thursday, March 06, 2008 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This German band did release a very good debut album five years prior to this one.

They were totally unsuccessful in terms of sales and remained silent for a long time. Unfortunately, their song writing is absolutely not on par here. This album almost sounds as a neo prog one and it is far to level the quality of Amenophis. Poor melodies, weak vocals, it seems as the band forgot to play fine symphonic prog music. Almost popish at times (Forever Is A Long Time). It is pretty strange how a band can change. Maybe they thought that this was the trend at the time...

The comparison with their debut doesn't work in favour of this You & I. An album full of boring songs I'm afraid. Once in a while some fine guitar will wake you up, but I was expecting more from the band. Very few exciting moments, some being really hard to listen to and accept. A few are still worth, like the rocking Classic Contact which features splendid musicianship. But I guess that this is just the least we can expect from a professional band.

The worse is reached with His Special Way. I'm looking hard to find any interesting aspect in this song. A sub-sub-Blondie track. I truely loved the original (Blondie I mean, in their 1977 through 1979 days) but Amenophis sounds so alien to this music that they shouldn't have tried to walk so many miles away from their roots.

After such a disgusting track, it is a real pleasure to listen to Interludes Of Bright Weather even if it is so much borrowed to Steve (Howe). Onother good tune (there aren't so many) is Close To The Sea, a fully Renaissance oriented song. If only the band would have produced more of this type. Instead, they were heading to more jazzy and dull stuff like Ghostball.

In all, this album is rather weak.

I was extremely enthusiast about their debut and after having listened and reviewed this one, I can only tell you to stick to Amenophis if ever you would be interested in their work. Their new female vocalist is just average, passion is non-existing, melodies... did you say melodies? Forget it!

Only a few strong guitar breaks and harmonious keyboards are in essence the only positive ingredients available in this album.

Two stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#181839)
Posted Friday, September 05, 2008 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Amenophis' self-titled album was a decent enough symphonic prog album - perhaps inclining a little heavily towards Yes worship, but a reasonable listen if that's the sort of thing you're really heavily into. Their second effort bears a title - You and I - which might make you think more Yes- inspired symphonic material is to come, but it was not to be - it seems that the band were making an effort to clamber onto the neo-prog bandwagon, but weren't quite sure how to go about it.

The songwriting is simplified compared to the symphonic intricacies of the debut, but lacks the hooks and the flair which the real masters of the neo-prog style brought to the table (and the idea that neo-prog is super-simplified prog is, in itself, an oversimplification - the fact is that this material often isn't even as intricate or embellished as a typical Marillion track of the era). In addition, the lead vocals from Elke Möhrle pitch for a Jon Anderson vibe but fall hopelessly short of the mark. Perhaps it's best all round if we just kept our attention on the band's debut album and quietly forgot about this one...

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#588763)
Posted Thursday, December 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars It´s understandable the deception a lot of people had when they heard Amenophis sophmore LP You And I. The group traded their debut´s symphonic prog to a sub par neo prog sound in 1988. Ok, it might had had some commercial pressure since they had not been successful on the first attempt, but the results are not satisfying in any way.. Original drummer Stephan Rößmann had left due to health reasons and the two remaingin members. guitarrrist Michael Rößmann and bassist Wolfgang Vollmuth were joined by three new ones: vocalist Elke Möhrle, drummer Rene Kius and keyboardist Kurt Poppe.

While not at all a total disaster, it is clear that Amenophis was trying to jump into the neo prog movement, even if it was not any novelty at the time, in fact it was waning fast. The music here is quite varied and, in this case, a bad thing, since it showed more a lack of personality than a truly versatility they seemed able to deliver. The first track, an instrumental called Opening (The Dance Of The Pyramid) is a typical 80´s neo prog guitar/synth led, very much in the vein of Marillion, but without any real hook or memorable melody line. Things star to get a little better with the second tune, Forever Is A Long time, but again it is nothing special, sounding like an Yes song leftover from Big Generator´s sessions. Möhrle´s voice is definitly forced here to mime Jon Anderson´s high pitch. Bassist Vollmuth take over lead vocals on the third track, The Key Of Life, but things do not improve much, although Rößmann´s guitar solo is quite moving.

There are three more instrumental tracks along the way: the fast Classic Contact (a typical 80´s neo prog sample) the varied, but not much satisfying (again) Interludes of Bright Wheather and the soft but dull closing track Ghostball. The best song is definitly Storm, with its strong Renaissance overtones where Elke Möhrle proves she can sing very well when her voice is in her right tone. However, Close to The Sea is the worst: Vollmuth takes the lead vocals again for this mix of musical comedy/jazzy/rap; A real waste of fine musical prowness. His Special Way is not that bad, maybe because Möhle handles the vocals and the jazz/blues/cabaret style is well suited for her. Still, far from their best.

Small wonder this album failed. Typical case where the musicians are excellent, the production is good but the songs are weak and forced.

Rating: 2,5 stars.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#1141106)
Posted Monday, March 03, 2014 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
3 stars ''Amenophis'' was a great album, but as expected it only sold a few hundred copies in mid-80's with Prog Rock being totally out of fashion.The band dissolved, but in 1987 Music Is Intelligence showed some interest in this release and decided to offer the band a chance to record a second album under professional circumstances.Wolfgang Vollmuth and Michael Roessmann reformed Amenophis without Stefan Roessmann, who faced some health problems, and they were joined by Elke Moehrle on vocals Kurt Poppe on keyboards and Rene Kius on drums.The album ''You and I'' was recorded in two weeks and released in spring 1988.

I admit that there are quite a few reasons to dislike this album, the main ones being the accesible tunes of a Pop quality, but consider that bands like Pendragon and IQ were facing the same problems in late-80's, struggling to find a balance between progressive and poppy vibes.The truth is that Amenophis had intentionally produced an album half split between straightforward songs and more proggy overtones.During the later ones they had quit from their big symphonic sound with the strong Teutonic edge of the debut, but they still retained the symphonic qualities and refined arrangements of the period.They just seem to sound closer to IQ or MARILLION in these pieces, maybe with bits of ROUSSEAU, which are dominated by great keyboard layers, symphonic background orchestrations, melodic guitar solos and sentimental male and female voices.The level of the compositions is pretty good with a familiar German aura and even some complex themes, mainly based on keyboards and synthesizers.The more accesible tracks are ranging from decent to uninteresting, some of them feature influences from Classic Rock, Jazz and Acoustic Music, but the good thing is that in big part of them the band always throws in a few proggy twists, while the melodies are memorable and well-crafted.

Underrated album from the worst period for progressive music.Good Neo Prog with hints from Amenophis' recent past, based on less complicated ideas and leaning towards more melodic lines.Recommended.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#1250779)
Posted Saturday, August 16, 2014 | Review Permalink

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