Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Birth Control - 1974 - Rebirth

Birth Control 

01. She's got nothing on you (5:04)
02. Mister Hero (6:42)
03. Grandjeanville (1:03)
04. No shade is real (4:41)
05. M.P.C. (1:56)
06. Together alone tonight (10:28)
07. Back from hell (8:08)

Bruno Frenzel / lead guitar, alto sax (2), vocals
Dirk Steffens / lead guitar, 12-string guitar (3), vocals
Zeus B. Held / organ, electric piano, Mellotron, trumpet & trombone (2), flute (5)
Peter Föller / bass, triangle (6), lead vocals
Bernd Noske / drums, Moog drums (7), percussion, lead vocals

Recorded and mixed at Dierks Studios, Stommeln, Nov. 73.

Progressive rock diehards will have you believe that (the appropriately-titled) Rebirth was a major stylistic misstep for Birth Control, as it eschews the band's established "heavy prog"/heavy psych sound in favor of more straightforward hard rock.  Although the record is a clear step down from more proggish efforts like Operation and Plastic People, I have a hard time denouncing any record with this many nice moments.  In particular, I think that this record has more highlights than it's quirky heavy psych predecessor Hoodoo Man, and those standouts draw me back to Rebirth as much as any entry in the Birth Control discography (apart from maybe Operation).  What the album lacks in originality it makes up for with a memorable collection of grooves, which owe as much to jam-centric rock bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd as they do to heavy psych.  The tracks that really stand out are still the ones where these healthy grooves are supplemented by "non-standard" touches, as on the horn laden "Mister Hero" or the acoustic-driven builder "Together Alone Tonight".  Two of my favorite tracks from the entire Birth Control discography.  There are still enough confusing moments on Rebirth to prevent anything higher than a 3.0 star rating.  Foremost among these is the extraordinarily tedious drum solo on "Back from Hell", which destroys what could've been a third standout track.  I'm also less than enamored with the two instrumental interludes ("Grandjeanville", "M. P.C.")- rather directionless pieces that may have been included merely as outlets for the band's proggish ambitions.

A fun record whose highlights make it a worthwhile listen for fans of 70's hard rock and heavy psych.  I still suggest that prog-inclined listeners begin their investigation of Birth Control with more ambitious efforts like Operation, Plastic People, and Backdoor Possibilities.

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