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Amon Düül II - Almost Alive... CD (album) cover


Amon Düül II



2.72 | 48 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars You must think me an ignorant bastard for rating this album so high. Ignorant because this is almost universally hailed as a lacklustre album where the band apparently sold their souls down the river. A bastard for simply saying otherwise. I have never been partial to the psychedelic space-jam. The first and most classic phase of Amon Düül II has never really got their hooks and teeth in me. I have eluded it's grasp, one might say. I do not comprehend it. I think the same goes for Brainticket and the likes. It does not feel right. So, now that we have gotten that out of the way, what is there to be said about Almost alive, that lacklustre disaster of an album, released in the crest of disco and proggy disillusion? I think a lot needs to be said. First I would like to point out that I, being ever the novice in the waters of Amon Düül II, really have no in depth knowledge of them. Bearing that in mind it may help to explain why I feel so positive about this album. Secondly, it is far from the intergalactid psychedelia of the early years. The music on Almost alive is a concoction of prog, disco and spacey interludes, mainly thanks to the wonderful keyboards present. Someone mentioned Eloy as a reference to this album. In parts I think that could be close to the truth but I get a sense of Hawkwind (around this time) aswell. There is a jazzyness to it aswell, as evident in the electric piano starting up "Live in Jericho". This is a track heavy on percussion but also very floating, gentle walls of keyboard that evokes images of floating in space. Stuck inside a drifting shuttle and what not. It is actually quite splendid. The disco parts are very evident in the opening track "One blue morning". No, it is not "Stayin' alive" by The Bee Gees but it holds a funky, discofied feel to it. Very much of it's time I think. Keyboards and guitar complement each other very well over the "dry" drums. "Good bye my love" opens beautifully with keyboards which reminds me of England's Garden shed but belongs in a distinctly more spacey genre. "Ain't today tomorrows yesterday" opens up with a great but simple, therefore effective, guitar riff and holds a great section of trumpets and mellotron (?) in an almost Beatles kond of way. "Hallelujah" is probably the most un-melodious of the songs, though by no means a free form jam. I hear (whether it is true or not) echoes of Exodus, the polish band. Great, nevertheless. "Feeling uneasy" is also a fine track in a spacey pop-prog kind of way. The Nik Turner-ian saxophone is great, so are the easy going bridges. And the ending "Live in Jericho" is, as previously stated, a great track. I think that some albums are misunderstood and miscredited, due to the fact that they differ too much from the more classical and generally more praised albums. This, I suppose, is one of those albums. It has, as stated, very little to do with the earlier incarnations of the band's sound. This is in fact a more melodious, "easy" album to approach. It has lots to offer. The band seems committed and determined to give their all, only in a different setting. Apart from that aspect, the music really shows the immense talent of the band. They are highly competent musicians able to transform and enter other realms and doing so in a splendid way. There is a majestic and sometimes otherwordly feel to it all. It is a product of the determination and drive to perform, evolve and change. That is truly progressive and while this album certainly isn't hard to chew and digest it holds plenty of progressive flavor to please me.

A great but misunderstood album. 4 stars for me.

GruvanDahlman | 4/5 |


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