Brainstorm - Second Smile

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Garden of Delights
Catalog Number: CD046
Format: CD
Total Time: 41:11:00

Brainstorm, this Brainstorm, were a 70s jazz-rock band from Germany, playing Zappa inflected music. But there are times on Second Smile (1973) where I thought of ELP, King Crimson, and Pink Floyd. As often as I feel I keep saying that about bands in these reviews suggests to me just how influential those bands were to one degree or another. But, the track "Marilyn Monroe" has sections that sound like 70s soul. The track opens with sax and organ, and when the vocals, drums and bass come in, it is a small part Red-era King Crimson. But also I kept thinking of this 70s song that I'm not sure the title of or even who sings it, all I have is this fragment of lyric that I think includes the words "lady blue." Anyway, all of this shifts gears, becoming a funky, gospel like piece that shifts gears again to become a spoken word, bluesy, psychedelic piece. On the one hand, here is where they tell listener why they're called Brainstorm and how they see themselves in relation to the listener. On the other, it is a short fantasy of getting their "kicks on Route 66" and meeting "Marilyn Monroe" (all in the space of a few lines). Overall, it's a psychedelic trip.

"You're The One," the bonus track, is more along the lines of heavy rock. Although, the piano intro (Eddie von Overheidt) that begins the track sounds like a combination of three separate tracks: the intro to an Eric Clapton-tune that I can't recall the name of, Carole King's "I Feel The Earth Move," and a dash of the Doobie Brothers' "Rockin' Down The Highway." All with vocals by Roland Schaeffer that sound like a bit like vintage Greg Lake. Actually, the song it most resembles, other than the vocals, is that Clapton-tune, though there isn't any sense that it's anything more than coincidence (or maybe it's just me).

The jazz aspect to their sound works better for me than the rock. The strongest track is "There Was A Time." According to the liner notes, "the lyrics [?] were taken from a song by Pharaoh Sanders and written by Santana singer Leon Thomas?" You can hear vague hints at Santana, but I think that's more to do with knowing about the connection than anything overtly present.

The first track, "Hirnwind," begins in a spacey, atmospheric fashion, vaguely Floyd-ish and mainly due to the bass lines of Enno Dernov. Flute will recall Ian Anderson, but that has more to do with it being a flute than Rainer Bodensohn trying to mimic Anderson. The jazz figures swirling around the flute are un-Tull-like. Bounding rhythms circulate like a storm - according to the liner notes, "Hirnwind" means "Brainstorm." In contrast, this track is followed by the gentle "Herbst." Also flute based, this time it is feathery, floating notes that soon increase in intensity ? this is something you wouldn't be surprised to hear in the instrumental part of a Tull tune.

Again Garden of Delights have done a terrific job with the liner notes, though the booklet seems deceptively thick due to the catalog included on 12 of the booklet's 25 pages. Nevertheless, you get various pictures of the band; pictures of their two releases in their various versions, including the single "You're The One,"(which appeared on their first album Smile A While as "You Are What's Gonna Make It Last"). As well as, of course, a history of the band during this period, that being the year 1973. Using the master tapes, the sound here is as crisp as possible, sounding very fresh and vibrant. As GoD point out, Germanophon released a rather dodgy bootleg version, so the GoD version is the one to get.

If you're in to jazz-rock, this is a better than average (about at the middle of the scale between average and excellent) slice of Krautrock (as it is so termed). As I said, I prefer the jazzy bits over the rock bits, but they are so intermeshed it's actually hard to separate them. Interestingly, not only is there a more current Australian band called Brainstorm (as mentioned), but also nearly contemporaneous with this Brainstorm (late 70s) was a US funk band of the same name. And there is a metal band also called Brainstorm (and sure there are others).

Hirnwind (5:43) / Herbst (3:40) / My Way (8:12) / Affenzahn (4:47) / There Was A Time (7:09) / Marilyn Monroe (8:32) / Bonus: You're The One (2:50)

Rainer Bodensohn - flutes; bass (3,5)
Eddy Von Overheidt - organ, e-piano, clavinette; lead vocals (3)
Enno Dernov - Fenderbass; guitar (5)
Roland Schaeffer - soprano and tenor sax, clarinet, acoustic and electric guitars, vocals; double-bass (2)
Jo Koinzer - drums, Transylvanian fold-up-conga

Smile A While (1972)
'You're The One/Das Schwein Trügt' (1973)
Second Smile (1973)

Genre: Krautrock

Origin DE

Added: June 5th 2001
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1013
Language: english


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