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Electra - Electra Combo (as Electra-Combo) CD (album) cover

ELECTRA COMBO (AS ELECTRA-COMBO)

Electra

 

Crossover Prog

2.18 | 11 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
2 stars ELECTRA was a band that formed in Dresden, East Germany in 1969 initially under the ELECTRA-COMBO moniker but would drop the second part in 1975. This band was one of East Germany's most famous as well as most radical and progressive bands which resulted in having a very hard time getting an album released due to the iron clad censors behind the curtain so the band's albums unfortunately did not reflect the ambitious nature that the band purportedly displayed in a live setting.

After releasing this debut simply titled ELECTRA-COMBO in 1974, the band which would simply become ELECTRA was allowed to sneak in some more progressive elements and the next couple of albums are considered the progressive heyday of East Germany but in 1980 the band adopted a mainstream pop rock style and remained one of the most popular bands of the DDR during the decade.

Founded in 1969 by Peter "Mampe" Ludewig, Bernd Aust, Helmut Rinn, Karl-Heinz Ringel and Ekkehard Berger who were students of the Dresden Music Ademy Carl Maria von Weber, the band was known for its electronic supported adaptations of classical music before venturing into progressive rock however on this debut simply titled ELECTRA-COMBO the band crafted a mix of catchy pop hook oriented Deutschrock with a few progressive rock time signature outbursts woven into the rather standard sounds of the day.

While maintaining a mostly funk laden bass groove throughout most of this album by Michael Demnitz, the psychedelic organ swells of the two keyboardists Bernd Aust and Hans-Peter Dohanetz as well as the standard rock guitar contributions of Peter Sandkaulen, ELECKTRA also sounded much like Jethro Tull as Bernd Aust delivered a lot of flute on this album as well as the occasional jazzy saxophone squawk. Lead vocalist Stephen Trepte delivered all German lyrics in a rather operatic bravado which in tandem created a veritable crossover prog that must have been irresistible in an art rock region of the world in 1974.

Based more in the world of pop rock than anything prog, this obscure (to the West) band's first release isn't really that interesting other than as a sneak peek into the music scene of the DDR around the 1974 timeline and for that it is utterly fascinating however the lyrics are rather ridiculous (assuming you understand German) and the music is catchy but not anything out of the ordinary either. While this band must've provided a welcome respite from the status quo of the heavily controlled music scene of Eastern Europe, it's a little too tame for its own good and quite a shame that ELECTRA couldn't record the music that they were known to play in live settings.

ELECTRA would ramp up the prog aspects on its following albums "Adaptionen" and "3" before metamorphosing into one of the DDR's most popular pop rock acts of the 80s but on this debut you can only expect some well delivered Deutschrock with references to 60s heavy psych, 70s Jethro Tull and occasional angularities making sudden hairpin turns but never enough to satisfy. Some of the music is obviously inspired by the ethnic folk music with an oom-pah sort of polka flavor but for the most part this is a decent if unremarkable collection of tracks. Hardly worth hunting down at any cost but certainly an entertaining listen just to hear the local flavors of 70s Dresden.

2.5 rounded down

siLLy puPPy | 2/5 |

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