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6 May 2009

Amon Düül II - 'Wolf City' (United Artists)

We continue our look at "every other Amon Düül II record" with Wolf City, from '72.  Post-Lemmings AD2 should really be Amon Düül III, as there's some lineup switcheroos and a fairly new direction, though the Internet informs that there actually was an Amon Düül III in the 1980s, also known as Amon Düül UK.  Maybe instead of a new direction it's better to say that Wolf City continues the evolution of trends that are audible back in the Phallus Days.  The main trend is really 'songwriting', as this conforms more to a classic pop/rock album, or maybe defining prog-pop (in a dude way, not like Steely Dan).  The vocals are way up in the mix and there's a lyrical swing that carries through the whole record.   Something feels "tighter" despite the element of 'space' still thick in every song - Germanic space, not American-style open-form space (they're different, really!).  The instrumental jam has a bunch of Indian musicians creating a microtonal soup,  classic appetizer of the early 70s; somehow it feels like the missing link between the earlier records and this.  With all the singing in English, crisp production, and fairly accessible structures, this doesn't feel like das Sellout.  Actually the rhythms are crunchy and thick enough that this almost feels like a proto-metal record, reminding me of a band like Budgie.  The vocals on some tracks are pure N.W.O.B.H.M., and maybe were heard by a few German kids (the Scorpions?) even if Chuck Eddy calls this later period their "prog-rock downfall".  Another stunning gatefold, though this one is less spaceship and more bad trip.  

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