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Inquire - The Neck Pillow CD (album) cover



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5 stars A rather unknown band from Germany named INQUIRE has recorded one of this year's best albums. This is the follow up to their debut CD "Inquire Within" (1999) and it's a concept album inspired by the movie "Die Bettwurst" (The Neck Pillow). "The Neck Pillow" tells the bizarre love-story of two unusual individuals who failed in society and seek to escape the threat of destruction into an ordinary life. The lyrics are in English while a lot of the narration is in German. They're excellent musicians whose music is a blend of EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER, GENESIS, GROBSCHNITT, PINK FLOYD and RUSH without being clones. The song-writing is similar to a big part of these bands 70's production, with lengthy instrumental passages and complex time changes, while the sound and the musical approach is more modern. Overall the album has a very crisp and professional sound for being a self-financed release. The highlight is the opening 20 minutes GENESIS influenced "Die Bettwurst part one". My only criticism is that although the artwork is both beautiful and funny (well, there's a lot of humour in the music too) it's rather ugly too. I think that an artwork such as on the GENESIS albums "Foxtrot" or "Nursery Cryme" would've illustrated the music better. If Inquire hasn't become one of the big bands in Progressive rock within a few years, then it's a real shame. Because this is a true masterpiece!
Report this review (#3580)
Posted Friday, February 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars I would describe the music on this album as "krautrock" or what is popularly referred to as "space rock", with influences also from neoprog bands such as Twelfth Night or early Marillion - especially in the keyboard work. But equally with references to Porcupine Tree, Genesis, Pink Floyd and Eloy. The music is simply very good and carries on the tradition of great German bands such as Grobschnitt and Novalis; and as far as any comparisons to a single album is possible, it is perhaps best compared to Grobschnitt's "Solar Music Live." Another thing that Inquire seem to have inherited from Grobschnitt is the same strange humor which can be noted every now and then, not only in the music itself but also clearly evident from the liner notes. To sum it up, this is a really captivating album and definitely one to savour.
Report this review (#3581)
Posted Tuesday, August 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars "The Neck Pillow" was the second album release by this German experimental prog rock band who wrote here a real gem of an album. With 2 epic tracks titled "Bed Sausage part 1 and part 2" what else can you say? Hard to exactly peg this album musically but I would suggest a pretty clean split of UK's "Arena" with Italy's "La Maschera Di Cera". Musically these guys blend symphonic keyboards with heavy grooved guitar and bass riffs and beats creating a strong and energetic vibe throughout. The music of INQUIRE is always intriguing and shifting and offers many surprises along the way. Instrumentally this band is amazing offering some pretty courageous yet well constructed and highly original music. "The Neck Pillow" also contains an excerpt from Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite ! INQUIRE would have to be one of the freshest progressive bands to have come out of Germany in some time. Highly recommended !
Report this review (#70901)
Posted Thursday, March 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
2 stars A VERY difficult album to get into, I have tried multiple times to no avail, and will try no more. It's ambitious for sure, too much so for its own good, with a tendency to remind me of the 4th rate German 80s group Anabis. While the sung vocals are virtually atonal and not much fun, the shouted spoken parts are simply maddening. The theme described in the sleeve notes is fairly mundane and does not stand on its own.

Musically this alternates between relatively uninteresting repetitive keyboard motifs and relatively clunky heavy guitar parts, but all generally played at a snail's pace, largely devoid of subtlety. Guitarist Dieter Cromen is decent technically and plays some nice leads but the production generally quashes his efforts. All the tracks have their moments but in general this comes across as attempts by an 8th grader to make a major discovery in chemistry class only to blow up the lab. At some point you need to look at the end result and ask was any of it really worth it?

Inquire's "Neck pillow" is a rather uncomfortable and substandard item that is best avoided altogether. I've rounded up because I'm so happy I can now take my own advice.

Report this review (#166007)
Posted Monday, April 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars This is apparently a concept album based around the movie of the same name. Lyrics are in both German and English with quite a bit of narration. Think of PINK FLOYD doing a Neo-Prog album and your not far off. I do like the guitar and background synths, but the vocals and narration are negatives. Some heaviness at times too which I like.

"Die Bettwurst Part One" is the almost 21 minute opening track. Seagulls then spoken German words come in. Vocals 3 minutes in and it stays pastoral until before 5 minutes when the organ, guitar and drums kick in.The tempo picks up as the vocals come and go. It turns heavier with some great bass after 11 minutes. Nice guitar before 12 1/2 minutes. A calm follows as German words arrive once again. The phone's ringing before 15 1/2 minutes. Piano and German words follow. More excellent guitar after 18 1/2 minutes as it kicks back in. "Circles" opens with deep spoken words in German before laid back guitar and drums take over.The deep voice is back 5 minutes in. It kicks in heavier 7 minutes in before settling before 9 1/2 minutes. More deep spoken words. I like the waves of synths late.

"The Death Of Ase" sounds good with the guitar and drums leading the way. "Swidwin" opens and closes with church organ with vocals, guitar and drums in between. "Die Bettwurst Part Two" opens with German spoken words, guitar before a minute. Vocals and keys take over. It sounds good when it picks up after 2 minutes. Lots of synths follow. It settles before 10 minutes and the drums sound good. Samples before 12 minutes. "Die Berliner Bettwurst Part One" is the humerous conclusion as we get a polka flavoured melody with silly German vocals. Probably how he lost his tooth.

Good album but inconsistant for my tastes.

Report this review (#227348)
Posted Friday, July 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
1 stars Drawn out and uneventful.

I must admit, this is probably the most boring album I've heard in decades. In between some reasonable action at times, the lull is almost sufficiently long to have a little sleep and not miss a thing. Established artists like Pink Floyd can get away with extended pieces and a laid back approach and make it work. This band however are not PF and are taking liberties at offering the holes in their Ementhaler cheese with little solid material on the side.

Some narration in German is not really helpful either and only adds to the dull monotony. The most surprising thing is that when these musicians decide to be a bit more lively, they play quite well. The odd run on the synth, nice guitar work is rather pleasant, but those moments are few and far between and the whole times of activity would barely add up to a couple of shorter pieces - not an album of 76 mins in duration.

The score between holes and cheese is 4:1..

Report this review (#873996)
Posted Sunday, December 9, 2012 | Review Permalink

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