Kraan - Through

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Bassball Recordings
Catalog Number: 20032
Format: CD
Total Time: 48:40:00

The operative word on the German jazz-fusion-rock band Kraan's near-excellent Through is soul. This slick and sleek sounding release, which features a variety of styles from the very jazzy to mid-tempo, rootsy rock, infuses the whole thing with a dash or two of funky soul. At various points, you will think of the 70s, and on occasion of Steely Dan (especially on the "Peg"-like instrumental "Moxx.") The quartet really shines on the instrumentals, however, kicking things off with the shiny, shimmery, crystalline "Unser Lied," a beautiful guitar led contemporary jazz piece. Peter Wolbrandt's guitar has a crisp clear sound, Hellmut Hattler's bass and Jan Fride's drums keeping everything grounded, Fride playing some very interesting, third-world-esque textures towards the end.

It is Hattler's slinky bass that gives "Solemn Sundown" a warm, laid-back feel, the arrangement strongly evoking an early summer evening. "Slomocean" is watery, Pink Floyd-spacey mello piece that lives up to it's title, again putting shimmery guitars front and center. "Soul Keeper" is a Dire Straits like mid-tempo soulful, jazzy country rocker, with more emphasis on the rock. Ingo Bischof's tart keyboards here evoke for me a dash of the late 70s-early 80s - and specifically for me, the theme from The Rockford Files. A distinctive guitar riff will have this track stay in your mind for some time.

"Urlaubsmusic" is another soulful jazz piece mixing in some wavery, watery stylistic touches ? while it never goes so far as to sound kitsch, one can imagine a few lava lamps on the scene in a retro kind of way. And "Now What (arewegonnado)" is darkly funky piece that made think of Dire Straits again, but also of more recent John Mellencamp. Wolbrandt's guitar sound is big and loose, giving Bischof, Hattler and Fride plenty of space to move around in. The album closes with the equally dark and funky (and Floyd-esque) title track. Here we hear another smooth and simmering bass line from Hattler, while Fride grooves along, well and comfortably in the pocket. It's subtle, but you can hear the pace of this track speed up as Hattler plays some impressive bass runs, Fride easily keeping up. Just as subtly, the shift back into a slower groove and do so effortlessly.

Wolbrandt as a vocalist is a minimalist ? a bit like Lou Reed in style, but sounding to me more like Mark Knofler in tone, falling a bit in between the two. At least in broad strokes. On an otherwise beautiful and engaging album, it is the least spectacular aspect. Four of the album's nine tracks have vocals, and whereas Wolbrandt might be called a middling vocalist, he is a spectacular guitarist. It is this latter aspect, along with the fantastic performances from everyone involved that makes Though great.

Unser Lied (4:32) / Solemn Sundown (6:24) / Run Sonny Run (5:34) / Slomocean (5:20) / Soul Keeper (6:16) / Urlaubsmusik (3:31) / Now What (Arewegonnado) (4:38) / Moxx (6:25) / Through (7:20)

Peter Wolbrandt - guitar, vocals
Ingo Bischof - keyboards
Jan Fride - drums, percussion
Hellmut Hattler - bass guitar

Kraan (1972)
Wintrup (1973)
Andy Nogger (1975)
Kraan Live (1975)
Let It Out (1975)
Wiederhoren (1977)
Flyday (1978)
Tournee (1980)
Schallplatten (1983)
Nachfahrt (2000)
Live 2001 (2001)
Berliner Ring (2002)
Through (2003)
Psychedelic Man (2007)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin DE

Added: November 2nd 2003
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1125
Language: english


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