Säure Adler


Richard Foster finds plenty to nod along to in a spaced-out racket from Poznan's Säure Adler

Many years ago I would receive CD promos from a “groovy” record label in Germany, delivered to the door by a mutton-chopped biker with a bandana. Before I even played the CDs I knew what was coming. The listening experience was continuously pleasant, comforting even; just like sitting in a warm bath. I would be lulled by sprawling beatless passages drenched in feedback, mildly amused by rocking strolls that embroidered elements found on The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter, or diverted by floating strums that could be folk songs on a good day.

Cosmic rock works like the mycorrhizal network fungus, the mycelium being those wild Cosmic Jokers releases, the ealy output of their kosmische allies, Tangerine Dream and AD2, Gong, Les Rallizes, various branches of French prog and “what if” replottings of the Syd Barrett story. And here, twenty years later after my bandana’d biker drove away, the same names are triggered by listening to the new release from Poznan’s Säure Adler.

Though I’m sure the band clings to the tenet of making a spaced-out racket that can float up to the stars, there are times where they sound as if they are still in bed, strumming their instruments under the duvet. ‘Logiczna Wyrzutnia – Nuclear Holocausta’ is as sprawled out as rock gets, a set of dreamscapes loosely assembled, held together by warbles, groans and mutterings. The band does sit up to give us ‘Odbudowiciel – The Orion Principle’ which benefits from a chord structure, the fuzzy guitar leading the charge. Two other tracks play the folk-pop game: ‘Sweet Lady Grass’ is a pleasant trippy stroll that goes to town on reverb and echo and ‘Sun In My Belly’ is this record’s Gille Lettmann moment, where a new Sternenmädchen tells of cosmic forces that run through her body whilst a jangling guitar lays down a soundtrack of sorts.

The instrumental mood pieces are the strongest. ‘Heavens Golden Chorus Sings’ is a queasy Floyd-esque film score. And ‘Bodensee UFO’ is a great, thick, opaque slice of chocolatey noise in thrall to Mizutani. Some pieces come as a surprise. ‘Nimfomanka – Sex Fiend’ sounds like ‘The Bogus Man’ at 17 RPM, maybe it is the Bogus Man’s inner dreamworld; whatever it is, it’s a queasy and uncomfortable piece of music.

Nothing sticks around too long, though, and in that respect the album works well as a continuous piece with various episodes that signal changes of mood or tempo. Focus is lost and found, sound levels change and the jams are never far away. ‘Boogie for Mrs Caligari’ sounds underpowered, like it’s recorded in another room, but hey, that’s just how the mood dictated…

That’s not to say everything passes by like a Sunday afternoon lying on your bed sparking up yet another bifter. One highlight is ‘Love Connection’, which is as Seven Up as it gets, the singer coming on like a downtown lothario, not unlike Tim Leary in ‘Right Hand Lover’. And the unhinged rant of ‘John Brian Amsterdam’ really captures the fish-eye lens feel of the Magic Centre (before they cleaned the city up to become a neoliberal hell, that is). Another remarkable moment happens deep into the record’s playing time with ‘Widze Jaki Ty Jestes – I See Which You Are’, which is a NDW style pop song avant la lettre: ‘Da Da Da’ even, albeit in Polish. The track comes as quite a shock after all the horizontal grooving.

One could be curt and say that, for the more impatient of us, this record is best summed up by a cut like ‘Too Much Time and LSD’ which sounds exactly as the title sets out. But despite the odd over-indulgence in a sound world that has lit a million joss sticks since 1972, there’s plenty to nod along to on this release.

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