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Eloy - Inside CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.79 | 475 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars 9.25/15P. A home match for me: Hannover is just 300km away from my home. Nonetheless, I cannot really find a home in this music. But, of course, it ain't no German music, which could be the reason ...

Well, this could have become a classic album of vintage German rock music. From the very first seconds of the album you hear how much potential this fairly young German band had in this line-up. This album benefits a lot from a warm production, a really tight bass player, a Hammond organist with a lot of feeling and a really decent composer. But unfortunately the band sometimes manoeuvres itself into quite some embarassing moments which totally destroy the atmosphere.

Land of No Body begins very interestingly with delayed bass and Hammond organ notes out of which Frank Bornemann's vocal melody arises. In my opinion Bornemann has never been a good vocalist, perhaps in one league with Lee Jackson of The Nice regarding that he was able to convey a message and a unique timbre despite the basic sense of tonality. On this album, however, his voice is often enough pretty enjoyable, especially in the moments when the band gets completely absorbed with the songs they perform. The topic of this song, a future journey to a new planet, is utterly pretentious, but the esoteric and slightly naive fantasy concept is something which defines Eloy, and if you don't get involved with that spirit at least a bit, you really miss something when listening to this music.

###... what I don't like ...###

But admittedly there are these strange moments on this album, for instance like Up And Down in which I cannot help shaking my head about how much the sense of self of the band differed from what they sound like. In the middle of a plainly gorgeous song, including spacy organs and a really soothing groove, the drummer of the band delivers a political speech in terrible English (we oppose 'sese matter of facts, but sometahms we couldn't do againsdad) which firstly doesn't make sense in some places due to the lack of some words, and which secondly copies some words from fellow German band Birth Control's (more meaningful) anti-Vietnam-war speech in the beginning of Gamma Ray. Of course, Eloy come from Germany and learnt their English at school. But if you read the booklets of the Eloy reissues you'll know very soon that humility isn't Frank Bornemann's prime trait. It's not that he really talks down other bands, but he does regard the Eloy lyrics as moments of profound spirituality and philosophy, and - as far as I remember - laments at some place that today's audiences don't have enough appreciation of these cosmic thoughts today. The problem is that I think that the lyrics are very superficial. There are these clumsy rhetorical questions in Future City (''guess how you feel when smog is catching your breathing?'') which somehow describe how the world could look like in some years in a very black-and-white way. Even Land Of No Body (which generally is a lot more endurable lyricwise) contains hollow phrases like ''we want freedom for the world, power to the people''. Moments like these simply make me angry because they aren't authentic. I'm convinced that bands from every country are theoretically able to make authentic music, and it's perfectly okay to be inspired by some bands, but as soon as Eloy start emulating their British idols things turn out really awkward.

And this is why so many moments on this record turn out to be incredibly ridiculous. Listen to the trademark Pink-Floyd-'Echoes' sonar ping note in the middle of Land of No Body and imagine keyboarder Manfred Wieczorke's huge smile on his face, thinking 'oh yeah, I know how to make that sound with my Hammond organ'.

Listen as well to Future City which copies the chromatic riff of Jethro Tull's Beggar's Farm. Of course there are always melodic similarities in blues music which cannot be avoided. But Bornemann also tries to copy Ian Anderson's vocal style and clumsily attempts to modify the Beggar's Farm melody to make it his own somehow. But somewhere during the composition process Bornemann lost the moody dominant minor chord and subdominant major chords which definitely defined Jethro Tull's song; hence, Bornemann stays on the same chord and repeats the 'guess how you feel' line many many times instead. I wouldn't call the piece a plagiarism, and it's actually a bit moody as well, but it really is inferior to Beggar's Farm and I do miss the authenticity again.

A third example is Bornemann's self-assured screaming in Land Of No Body. It's not that he screams particularly badly, but in combination with the bolero rhythm and the fat Hammond organ this part sounds so much like 'oh yeah, we have invented a German equivalent to Child Of Time' that I cannot take it seriously.

###... what I like ...###

The clarification to those who probably ask themselves why I rate this album with three stars although there are such a lot of aspects which I criticize is that there are indeed parts in which Eloy don't copy the style of Uriah Heep, Jethro Tull or Pink Floyd. Perhaps it's a sign of neglectfulness, perhaps it's due to excessive demands or due to a lack of time to absorb all the new albums which came out in those days - or maybe, to be complaisant, as a result of true artistic inspiration.

Howsoever - the title track Inside may really be regarded as a classic piece of German hard rock balladry. The fragile and ticking intro with the entangled organ/acoustic guitar work is quite beautiful, the lyrics are introspective and the vocals really manage to touch me emotionally. It's a bit disappointing that the band crash into some thick hard rock riffs after less than two minutes, but even then Frank Bornemann gets it all wrapped up with a terrific dual guitar solo. This kind of music, possessing this rough and somewhat chunky approach which is rightly associated with the name 'Krautrock', is indeed different to the sound of the equivalent British bands and makes a worthwhile listen. The Latin-flavored instrumental part of Future City with all of those rattling percussion instruments and acoustic guitars provides an entertaining contrast to the bluesy vocal part, thus allowing me to reconcile a bit with the uninteresting vocal parts. I've already mentioned that Up And Down is a really decent piece of organ-dominated psychedelia; so if you're able to ignore the political speech you'll be likely to enjoy it a lot, especially because the chord changes in the lengthy ending part sound quite sublime and lordly.

In fact, Land Of No Body emerges as a thoroughly palatable main dish, too - particularly when Eloy simply jam around aimlessly. The aforementioned organ solo is six or seven minutes long in total, and before Wieczorke ends up doing this strange pseudo-avantgarde stuff he plays some beautiful organ lines which are truly balm for the soul, especially on top of this steady and hypnotic beat. Many German rock bands called themselves 'psychedelic', but few of them succeeded in creating truly atmospheric instrumental parts. Eloy - despite all criticism - had the chops and the sense for these kind of atmospheres. It just seems that by the time of Inside the wish to sound like all of their idols at the same time was bigger than the wish to establish a sound of their own.

Overall, listening to this Eloy album sometimes is quite an satisfying thing to do, but it might feel a bit ambivalent and uncomfortable at times. At least in my case listening to Eloy frequently puts my musical assessment in questions, provoking questions about what 'inspired music' actually is, the question if there's any innovation in progressive rock music at all, the question why so many German rock bands appear more boring to me than their British counterparts. It's definitely not an essential album, but I enjoy it as much as Ocean and Silent Cries And Mighty Echoes and gladly refer to the occasional moments on this album which surpass the 3-stars level.

Einsetumadur | 3/5 |


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