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Colour Haze : Los Sounds De Krauts

With 'Los Sounds De Krauts' Colour Haze take their rightful place at the head of the class in the world of stoner/psychedelic rock. Their past few albums have set them at the pinnacle of hard psych., not only in their native Germany, but worldwide. Their new double album brings together everything they've done right in the past and consolidates it into one huge hallucinatory trip stuffed to the (mushroom) gills with passion, great musicianship, endless jams, and top-notch songwriting. Colour Haze is the class of Germany alright, and even though its only February, I'll be very surprised if this one isn't in my top 10 for 2003.

Right away you'll notice the bigger, better sound; far richer even than past efforts like their excellent 'CO2'. The first tune, 'I Won't Stop,' is indicative of the album as a whole: long on the instrumentals and short on vocals. In fact, the vocals don't even come in until the 3 minute mark, which is when most conventionally constructed songs end. The double-tracked vox are a manic, in-your-face manifesto of Colour Haze's hipster worldview. Hey: what IS so funny about peace, love, and understanding, anyway? Huh? On the instrumental side, this song is filled with so many ideas that any number of songs could be written from it, all of them good. 'Zen' starts off jazzy, with a repetitive riff that gets heavier and heavier, backed up by some incredibly agile drumming. 'Plazmakeks' has some excellent guitar harmonies and bass chops. Between these two instros, you've got over 18 minutes of spacey, psychedelic jamming majesty that will pin you to your chair. '2 + 7' has a Desert Sessions/'Masters of Reality' feel to it. Short and concise, the lyrics to the song are basically a recitation of simple math equations, a la the chorus in QOTSA's 'Regular John.' 'Sundazed,' has a happier, mellower feel at first, with fine 70's krautrock underpinnings, but it soon hits some high-intensity Kyuss-type guitar peaks.

Speaking of 70's krautrock, Disc 2's 'Weltraummantra' has an intro worthy of early 70's Ash Ra Temple, followed by guitar riffs of gradually building intensity and chanted vocals. It’s 18 minutes of stoned-out goodness. 'Other Side' has an experimental desert vibe, providing combining fast riffs and wah wah virtuosity with filtered vocals. 'Overriding' is perhaps a first among equals: it begins as a heavy, stoney meditation before marching into Hendrix land with an amazing guitar solo, then the proceedings are enriched by a cool retro organ which plunges the whole thing into a sick psychedelic vortex which will batter your mind to pieces.

Even though some of the songs push the 20-minute mark, it never gets dull, thanks to the group's superior songwriting and musicianship. In fact, it's a pleasure to hear them stretch out. Guitarist/singer Stefan Koglek sounds like an unholy mix of Hendrix, Josh Homme, Billy Gibbons and classic English blues guitarists like Peter Green or Alvin Lee. Philipp Rasthofer's fuzzy, high-impact bass holds the bottom down with authority, and Mani Merwald's drums are sharp and percussive, but without any of the all-too-common "look at me" syndrome. This spaced-out power trio provides music that's well worth your hard-earned dinero. So get out your best kind bud, sit down, and relax. You'll soon be in that magic state where you've got a rictus grin pasted on your face while it takes every ounce of will power you've got just to move your right index finger. Yeah, like that.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
Disc 1:
1. I Won't Stop
2. Roses
3. Zen
4. Plazmakeks
5. 2 + 7
6. Sundazed

Disc 2:
1. Where the Skies End
2. Weltraummantra
3. Other Side
4. Overriding
5. Schlaflied

Duration : Approx. 92 minutes

Visit the Colour Haze bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Kevin McHugh
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