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on August 25, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Another head-scratching answer to a trivia question nobody asked from That 70s Decade. STALINGRAD is Bachdenkel's second and last album of intelligent, song-oriented progressive rock, appearing after a long gap of six years from their debut, LEMMINGS. (I dunno how much weight this oughta carry, but Rolling Stone, upon hearing LEMMMINGS, dubbed Bachdenkel the Best New English Band of 1969. And, no, I haven't heard it and can't confirm or deny the truth of that claim.) Based upon this swan song, I'd say that Bachdenkel were a more muscular and guitar-oriented Gabriel-era Genesis - though keyboards are present, the guitars of Karel Beer and Colin Swinburne stir the drink on STALINGRAD, and superbly. There's some caustic riffing in spots, but there are even more passages of subtle loveliness present (Beer's beautiful muted 12-string solo in "The Whole World Looking Over My Shoulder" never fails to summon up gooseflesh, to cite one example). It's tough to sum this band up with a nod to Genesis - for one thing, they're contemporaries, not camp-followers, and for another, there are also strong echoes of many other great British progressive-rock acts of the time, including a fistful on the Vertigo roster. Further complicating a capsule summary is the strong songwriting and musical vision Bachdenkel exhibit on this record. As an English band living and recording in France, they were probably better able to assimilate what they liked, without being so waist-deep in the UK scene that the influences began dominating the end result - so anybody expecting a COPY of something else is gonna be disappointed. The cd reissue thoughtfully jams in ten additional tracks - outtakes, live tracks, archival masters, etc. With the exception of one sonically-subpar live edit (the closing track, thankfully), every addition to the original vinyl's nine selections is worth hearing and lends insight to what they were up to in that six-year span of inactivity. At the very least, STALINGRAD is good enough to get me REALLY curious about that first album, which most who've heard both insist is far better.
Format: Audio CD
Originally released in 1977, band's follow-up to their first [out of two] lp's 'Lemmings' (see my review). Here, you get the British psych band's second effort with it's initial nine songs + ten added bonus tracks of unreleased singles, studio live cuts and archived songs. Tunes I got the most out of were "The Whole World (Looking Over My Shoulder)", "After The Fall", "(It's Always) Easy To Be Hard" (definitely should show up on some of those numerous various artists compilation CD's you see a lot), "Ctalingpad" and the title cut "Stalingrad". Also liked a couple of their singles - "Ring Of Truth" and the well-played "Throught The Eyes Of A Child".
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