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Birth Control

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Birth Control Plastic People album cover
3.69 | 174 ratings | 14 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Plastic People (10:54)
2. Tiny Flashlights (7:33)
3. My Mind (6:49)
4. Rockin' Rollin' Roller (5:43)
5. Trial Trip (6:43)
6. This Song Is Just for You (7:28)

Total Time 45:10

Line-up / Musicians

- Bruno Frenzel / guitars, string arrangements (3), backing vocals
- Zeus B. Held / keyboards, tenor saxophone (2,4), trumpet (2), string & brass arrangements (6), backing vocals
- Peter Föller / bass, vibes (3), lead vocals (1,2,4-6)
- Bernd Noske / drums, percussion, Fx, lead vocals (2,3,5)

- Christoph Noppeney / viola (3,6)
- Jochen von Grumbkow / cello (3,6)
- Friedmann Leinert / flute (6)
- Robby / saxophone (6)
- Otto / trombone (6)
- Harry / trumpet (6)
- Ulla / chorus vocals (6)
- Hanne / chorus vocals (6)
- Brigitte / chorus vocals (6)
- Robert Camis De Fonseca / Fx (1)

Releases information

Artwork: Peter Lorenz

LP CBS ‎- CBS 80921 (1975, Germany)

CD Columbia ‎- 07-483601-10 (1995, Germany)
CD Repertoire Records - REP 4944 (2001, Germany) Restored & Remastered by Eroc

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy BIRTH CONTROL Plastic People Music

BIRTH CONTROL Plastic People ratings distribution

(174 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(49%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

BIRTH CONTROL Plastic People reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars This one should please more the progheads than the previous one but I find they lost their energy as they tried to become more eloquent with their writing . Overall , A well oiled machine that forgot about their humous covers depicting their name.
Review by loserboy
5 stars If I had to make a decision on the Desert Island list, I might select BIRTH CONTROL's "Plastic People" to join the lot!. "Plastic People" was the 6th release for this German progressive outfit and in my opinion marks a real highlight in progressive rock music. "Plastic People" offers a highly refined and professional sound, with some absolutely scrumptious musicianship. Electric and complex progressive rock which does really not sound all that underground as so many German 70's acts did. I would slot this album somewhere in the PINK FLOYD, CAMEL, NEKTAR school of progressive rock. BIRTH CONTROL are joined here by the 2 lads from HOELDERLIN ( Christoph Noppeney & Jochen von Grumbkow) who add some sweet cello and viola along the way. Songs are nice and complex and well constructed offering some nice tempo changes and departures into the land of the "Plastic People". Instrumentation is clearly a stand out here and I love the keyboard sounds throughout which do not always dominate but instead nicely compliment the rest of the instruments. For those who love nice complex drumming with great musical excursions then this will wet your palate. "Plastic People" is a very complete album and I would highly recommend this album to all progressive rock fans.
Review by Progbear
4 stars The band's first explicit foray into progressive rock-you knew this was a far cry from REBIRTH the second you heard those weird, percussive synth sounds at the start of "Plastic People". Musically, this is spectacular stuff, with intricate Hammond and Moog work on "Plastic People", some of Bruno Frenzel's most spectacular guitarwork on "Tiny Flashlights" (which also contains incidental cameo appearances by Morgan Fisher and Eddie Jobson!), impressive Gentle Giant-isms on "My Mind" and more subtle, textural explorations on "Trial Trip". They even have time for an old-style out-and-out rocker (albeit with proggy synth-leads) on "Rockin' Rollin' Roller" and close things out with a brassy Chicago sound-alike, "This Song Is Just For You".

The weak link in the chain this time round is Peter Föller. His voice, while well-suited to the straight-up rock of REBIRTH doesn't really mesh with the subtler strains of the material presented here. Noske, on the other hand, has greater vocal versatility, and shines on the few passages featuring his voice singing lead.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars This is the very first time that "Birth Control" almost sounds as "Genesis" during some (short) moments. Like in the opening number which is surprisingly similar to some early work of this great band ("Genesis" I mean). Keyboards especially sounds as Tony's one. I must say that it is the very first time that such a relation is to be noticed with "Birth Control". And it is difficult to ignore because this opening number is very good.

But the worse is immediately taking the role: "Tiny Flashlights" is some kind of awful disco beat oriented track. I have to admit that this album is rather bizarre. Songs feature several moods within a song. Did I say, a song within a song? But these are shy of this great "Camel" one.

This album is really going nowhere with "My Mind". Disjointed, uninspired and useless. The accordingly titled "Rockin' Rollin' Roller" is somewhat better. An upbeat psychedelia song. Not a superb one, but compared to the other songs so far, it is shining OK.

This album truly starts with "Trial Trip". The heavy beat, so typical is finally there. But this is the last but one good song from this release. Probably a bit too late to make this one a good album. This song features BRILLIANT moments (but so short ones). The instrumental second half is such a magical moment. Fabulous guitar solo, really. How is this possible? Brilliant and so weak during the same album. Did the band do this on purpose?

The wind section is also too much present to please me. I don't really like this album. Just average. Soul oriented during the closing number : "This Song Is Just for You". I can tell you that it is definitely NOT for me. Probably a casting mistake. This sounds more as poor Motown tune than to a prog one.

Two stars.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This impotrant German hard/heavy/progressive rock band was formed in Berlin in 1968 and they started as a mainly instrumental jazz rock outfit.Despite some line-up changes they recorded four studio albums in four years' time:''Birth control'' (1970),''Operation'' (1971),''Hoodoo man'' (1972) and ''Rebirth'' (1973).In these album anyone can detect the changes of their sound,from the early jazz rock style to heavy prog rock.However,it's their 1975 release ''Plastic people'',which established them as a progressive rock band.This amazing album is a mix of heavy progressive music with krautrock,symphonic tendencies and jazzy doses.Keeping their well-known hard'n'heavy style BIRTH CONTROL added a lot of different elements in their music,making this album a must-have record!Numerous fantastic interplays,jazzy passages,great use of keyboards and a krautrock atmosphere with intense vocals are mixed with heavy rock to result a memorable release!Recommended for all fans of serious and really progressive music!
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This would really be BIRTH CONTROL's first really progressive album and a huge departure from their previous albums. I wondered if this was even the same band who did an album like "Hoodoo Man". BIRTH CONTROL were certainly a band who liked to rebel against the establishment, heck even their name is mean't to do that. I mean check out some of their album covers. Anyway this is my favourite album cover from them, the idea is that people who go with the flow like the millions of others (see album cover) are "plastic people". Who aren't plastic people ? Well hippies and artistic people of course (haha).

"Plastic People" sounds so good when it kicks into gear.The keyboards and guitar especially. The tempo picks up before 1 1/2 minutes as synths and drums lead the way. The guitar comes and goes. Vocals for the first time 3 minutes in and the organ follows. A calm after 7 minutes and reserved vocals join in before it kicks back in. Hell ya ! Amazing tune ! "Tiny Flashlights" opens with guitar and vocal sounds, then we get a full sound before a minute and vocals join in. This sounds incredible. Just a feel good tune. The first two tracks are among my top three songs on this album. It turns spacey before 4 minutes, sounds like strings. Nice guitar and drumming a minute later then back to the original melody. Sax comes in late. "My Mind" opens with the sound of the wind blowing across an empty field (it's called "My Mind") no connection i'm sure. Processed vocals come in before a minute. Violin after 2 1/2 minutes. An outburst a minute later then the violin makes some noise. The tempo starts to pick up with keys and drums leading the way. Cool song.

"Rockin' Rollin' Roller" is my least favourite although it does get better as it plays out. Some good contrasts in this one too. "Trial Trip" is my other top three tune. It opens with synths and deep spoken words before it kicks in heavily after a minute with vocals. Guitar then organ also join the fray. It turns spacey before 4 minutes then the guitar proceeds to light it up. Incredible sound ! "This Song Is Just For You" has a real BLOOD SWEAT & TEARS flavour with the horn section (sax, trombone & trumpet) and those gruff vocals. Some violin, flute and female backing vocals as well.

Definitely 4 stars for me and the best album i've heard from them. Greg Walker insists that the followup "Backdoor Possibilities" is their best.

Review by Warthur
3 stars The title of this one might make you think of the Mothers of Invention, who opened Absolutely Free with a song of the same name, but Plastic People isn't Birth Control's take on Frank Zappa: instead, it occupies a sort of borderline between symphonic and space rock styles, of the sort which Eloy were also exploring at around this time. Zeus B. Held's keyboard playing is particularly prominent, and the album is a pleasant listen which will appeal to fans of the more symphonic and less Krautrock end of German prog, though a lack of really compelling and strong compositions means Birth Control don't hit the fourth star this time around.
Review by kenethlevine
4 stars If you are looking for classic mid 70s heavy prog with excellent musicianship and compelling albeit somewhat disjointed compositions, you should definitely lend an ear to the "Plastic People" of BIRTH CONTROL. If you are also a fan of German symphonic prog of that period, then drop what you are doing now! Much in the vein of GROBSCHNITT, NEKTAR, JANE, and a host of also rans, this effort grows in esteem with each listen.

The title cut sets the tone with its harmonic chorus, expressive organ, and colorful other instrumentation like flute, a fluid 10 minutes that flows by without obstruction. "Rockin' Rollin' Roller might be even better with its jazzy electric piano and disco like beat and cymbals, not to mention more grinding organ work and guitars. The main event here is "Trial Trip", the first part hard rocking and ominous, seguing to a wondrous guitar solo rivaling the most accomplished of prog players. The album closer "Song is Just for You" adds violin and later flute and sax atop the bluesy base. If "My Mind" and "Tiny Flashlight" are a bit weaker, they still hold captivating moments of contrast to keep most here happy. The vocals in general are functional but nothing more or less. They suit the musical concept to a T.

This is my first use of BIRTH CONTROL and, while they are not stylistically all that different from JANE, their similarity to that contemporary formation derives mostly from both groups' tendencies to explore the music in fashion at the time, meaning that their prog years were limited to the period beginning some time after the peak of prog and ending after punk had sunk its fangs into the neck of the dinosaur. Whatever their motives or faults, there can be no regrets that "Plastic People" were carried to term.

Review by stefro
4 stars Variously bracketed under both the 'krautrock' and 'progressive' tags, Germany's taboo-baiting Birth Control were in fact neither, yet at the same time also both. Starting life with their deliberately-provocative self-titled 1970 debut - an album which came housed in a sleeve designed and shaped to replicate a larger-than-life contraceptive pill - this was a group who really didn't care who they offended or what they said. From the off, they displayed a gritty, bluesy, organ-blessed heavy prog-rock sound, not unlike fellow Germans Frumpy, that featured on both their debut and the excellent follow-up 'Operation', in the process quickly finding themselves a local and enthusiastic audience. Further success would arrive after the release of both 'Hoodoo Man' and the less polished 'Rebirth', yet for 1975's psychedelic-flavoured 'Plastic People' a slight change of direction was evident. Lacking the drilled guitar solos and squealing organs of old, 'Plastic People' introduced a more atmospheric Birth Control sound laden with synthesizers and keyboards galore, the individual songs lacking the fiery rush of their previous outings yet adding a more sophisticated instrumental sheen. Ultimately in would kick-start the group's slow decline into more commercial territory, yet 'Plastic People' was nevertheless one of the finest Birth Control albums, displaying an as-yet-undiscovered technical side perhaps missing from the Hendrix-flecked psych-rock of their initial clutch of albums. This new virtuosity is best displayed on the lush, nine-minute title-track, and even more so on the superb closer 'This Song Is Just For You', a piece that blends a melodic, pink-floyd-tinged hue with surprising lyrical candour and woozy synthesized background to at times thrilling effect. As a result, 'Plastic People' is Birth Control's warmest release, a rich, carefully-layered about- turn for an outfit usually not known for their musical subtlety, and one of the group's must-have albums for curious listeners. Alongside 'Operation' and the rampantly heavy 'Hoodoo Man', this impressive 1975 album is certainly one of Birth Control's best. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012
Review by b_olariu
4 stars Plastic peolple from 1975 is regarded as one of the best Birth Control albums and for good reason for sure. Is one of my fav aswell from the band. With this album the germans manage to come with a more elaborated compositions in compartaion with previous albums, the combination of heavy prog elements are well melted with more symphonic ones and even some canterbury moments can be traced here and theere. Opning with the killer title track , clocking around 10 min, is truly a joy to listen from start to finish. Excellent innstrumental intro of the piece with lush organ and energic playing, aswell top notch musicianship. Maybe to some this album lacks in energy face Hoodoo man or Operations who were very heavy prog with driving guitars and keyboards, but Plastic people is more calculated more tight and have no weak moments for sure. I like the voice, or the voices, Peter Föller and Berd Noske done a great job, from dramatic parts from the title track to more subtle ones, the vocal department is well offered here. So, one of the better prog rock albums from mid '70 in general but kinda unfairly unnoticed in comparation with other names and albums from that period, definetly Birth Control sets new standards in their own sound and desearves attention from all prog lovers. 4 stars easy.
Review by patrickq
2 stars My opinion on this one is mixed. There's a lot to like here, particularly the keyboard playing. And the LP has more than a few moments of heavy-prog grandeur, some several minutes long. But here's what keeps Plastic People from being a three-star album: several songs are marked by inanities befitting RIO or avant-prog. Maybe this shouldn't bother me, but it does. I can appreciate some avant-prog (the Residents' Commercial Album, e.g.), but it's the sort of thing that works best as the framework for a piece of music. In other words, sprinkling some symphonic prog, heavy prog, prog folk, prog metal, etc. into an avant-garde piece sounds like a good idea. Maybe a great idea, actually. But while I appreciate the meta-avant possibilities of scattering some non sequiturs throughout an otherwise straight album, it just doesn't work for me, at least on Plastic People.

But those flashes of brilliance are pretty good, and the bursts of inanity are sufficiently infrequent to make parts of Plastic People enjoyable. In particular, the title song is pretty good. The keyboards on "Plastic People" remind me a bit of Tony Banks and a bit of Keith Emerson, but also a lot of Andy Tillison, possibly indicating an influence on modern progressive rock. And what, or who are "plastic people?" According to, the last verse begins "A plastic pachyderm could be their president." Ordinarily the elephant (pachyderm) would symbolize imperialism. But could this German band also be discussing US politics, in which the elephant (pachyderm) represents the Republican Party? (The then-US president was a Republican.) Or should we not bother trying to interpret the lyrics, which also include the line "Never mind / there might be a deeper sense / cracking silly jokes for idiots"?

Overall, Plastic People suffers as much from self-inflicted injuries than from a lack of quality material. It reminds me of an intentionally distressed but otherwise serviceable piece of furniture: I respect it as art, but in the case of Plastic People, I'd rather just have the plain old furniture.

Or something like that.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Birth Control streamline their sound to the progressive rock of mid 70's + other influences. The title track has some disco-influenced beat but thankfully, the majority of the song veers towards rock with Hammond runs, raw guitar and ARP. Singing is an acquired taste as it sounds raw and not ... (read more)

Report this review (#2281747) | Posted by sgtpepper | Saturday, November 16, 2019 | Review Permanlink

4 stars How said the P A prog reviewer Mellotron Storm (review #221796 Posted Friday, June 19, 2009 ), BIRTHCONTROL "Plastic People" is really the first´progressive rock albun from this German band and in my humble opinion their discography count with only another progressive rock albun, the next alb ... (read more)

Report this review (#591004) | Posted by maryes | Sunday, December 18, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Adventurous and powerful, on Plastic People Birth Control have successfully melded their hard rock roots with a complex, yet hard edged prog sound to create a true gem. You certainly can hear influences of Gentle Giant, Genesis and the Cantebury sound, but rather than being content to imitate, B ... (read more)

Report this review (#176694) | Posted by Tylosand Ektorp | Sunday, July 13, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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