An album that otherwise pulses with colour…
Review by Paul Castles
Release date: 21 August 2015
Abra Kadavar was one of the standout albums of 2012 (reviewed here). Full of dynamic grooves, irresistible riffs, warm melodies and a singer with a voice that could spread marmalade on to toast. So in reviewing the follow up from Kadavar, emotions flicker between genuine excitement but also layered with a degree of trepidation as to whether the German trio can reach those sonically charged heights again. The new album – Kadavar’s third in total and second on Nuclear Blast – is titled Berlin in homage to their current home city.
The album opens with a riff that immediately triggers a reaction on ‘Lord of the Sky’ and very quickly the distinctive trademark Kadavar crush velvet stoner tones start to hit all the right spots. ‘Thousand Miles Away From Home’ pulses with that comforting early 70s vibe, pulsating with silky grooves. The spirit of the age is such that you almost have to steady yourself from tripping over their bell-bottoms. Stretching back to the monochrome days of The Beatles and Marc Bolan, Berlin’s bohemian legacy has always drawn in and inspired the city’s artistic sons and daughters and Kadavar certainly feed into that on this album.
They’re not a band afraid to get their hands dirty and on the well named ‘Filthy Illusion’ you can almost touch their connection to Mother Earth, while ‘Pale Blue Eyes’ is not faraway from the Rolling Stones’ ‘Brown Sugar’. Kadavar’s last album was put together in only 10 days or so. This time they manoeuvred at a steadier pace and on songs like ‘The Old Man’ that extra care and fine tuning combine to put a brighter sheen on things than a freshly polished Porsche.
Christoph Lindemann’s distinctive delivery is integral to the Kadavar sound and appeal. It’s richer than a chocolate tiramisu and his high-pitched arches give the Germans’ their own badge of identity. Berlin is the first release to feature new bassist Simon “Dragon” Bouteloup while Tiger completes the Teutonic trio, again earning his stripes throughout with a confident and irrepressible display on drums.
Psychedelic spirals bleed out of every crevice on this record as Kadavar seemingly effortlessly conjure up the vibrancy of earlier times without ever sounding remotely dated themselves. Songs like ‘Stolen Dreams’ and ‘See the World with Your Own Eyes’ work their into your body and soul with their freshness while the latter has a delicious guitar solo clever enough to tie its own shoe laces. The final number ‘Into The Night’ is a kaleidoscopic juggernaut and concludes Berlin in coruscating fashion – unless that is you acquire the extended version of this release with its uncharacteristic bonus track.
It’s a cover of Nico’s emotive paean ‘Reich Der Träume’ (Realm of Dreams) and takes Kadavar even further back in time but on this occasion to a much deeper and darker place. Nico was one of the Berlin underground scene’s most cherished and tortured figures – and one who now rests in the city following her death in 1988. This undoubtedly makes ‘Reich Der Träume’ even more poignant and painful now than when Nico was performing it in her post-Velvet Underground period. It’s also noteworthy on this album as it sees Kadavar perform in their native Deutsch for once. It’s somber and stately rhythms draw a dark veil over an album that otherwise pulses with colour.
8 out of 10
- Lord Of The Sky
- Last Living Dinosaur
- Thousand Miles Away From Home
- Filthy Illusion
- Pale Blue Eyes
- Stolen Dreams
- The Old Man
- Spanish Wild Rose
- See The World With Your Own Eyes
- Circles In My Mind
- Into The Night
- Reich der Träume (Bonus Track)
Kadavar tour the UK in November supported by The Shrine, Horisont and Satan’s Satyrs. They play the Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton on November 11.