Inquire - The Neck Pillow

Year of Release: 2000
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: LC2783
Format: CD
Total Time: 65:39:00

The Neck Pillow by Inquire is a concept album based on a movie of the same name. The story is summarized thusly: "[It] tells the bizarre love-story of the two unusual individuals who failed in society and seek to escape the threat of destruction into an ordinary life." The story is told in both English and German, but the lyrics are printed for only part of the album, and it is far more instrumental than vocal. The lack of complete lyrics makes the story hard to follow. Perhaps if one sees the film it will all make sense.

Musically, Inquire are very much like a punchier Marillion circa Script For A Jester's Tear or Fugazi. The drums and percussion are often very much at the forefront, along with the bass. The other element you can add into their sound is the dark dramatics that I recall from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom Of The Opera score. This is due to the keyboard work of Robert Köhler, where during one section of the 20-plus minute title track, it sounds like a very dark, very gloomy organ. Another section of this track, which contains some guttural vocals that recall the overly growly vocals of dark metal.

In contrast, there are brief pastoral passages - the album opens with light, lyrical guitar notes - somewhat akin to David Gilmour, but with some slight imperfections, as there comes a moment where the notes run too much over each other... The album is quite dynamic with its shifting tempos and meters, going from heavy rock to light, contemporary classical. There's a guitar passage that but for the splash-like percussion could be the intro to Survivor's "Eye Of The Tiger." Actually, the percussion sounds to me to be a little mushy during sections of the title track...not always very crisp, but maybe it's because Thomas Kohls is bashing the heck out of them. The drums are crisp, on the other hand - and yes, he's bashing them, too.

Vocalist Dieter Cromen (also guitar and bass), most often sounds like Fish when he sings, except for those growly parts which sound processed - like someone disguising their voice. Although these leave me a little cold, perhaps that's the intention. During "Swidwin" he sounds a bit like John Wetton (as on Red). "Die Berliner Bettwurst" closes the album with a humourous, minute and half ditty that wouldn't seem out of place in the 40's....burlesque is the image I get.

It's not a perfect album, but it isn't a bad album. I don't like the processed vocals, though if I knew their context, my reaction might be different.

Die Bettwurst Part One (20:44) / Circles (17:39) / The Death Of Ase (2:28) / Swidwin (7:09) / Die Bettwurst Part Two (16:22) / Die Berliner Bettwurst Part One (1:57)

Dieter Cromen - guitar, vocals, bass
Robert K?hler - keyboards
Thomas Kohls - drums, percussion
Uli M?ckenheim - bass
Carsten Steffens - percussion (2, 5)
Pasadena Porno Casanovas - soccer choir (5)

Inquire Within (1999)
Neck Pillow (2000)
Melancholia (2003)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin DE

Added: August 1st 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1072
Language: english


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