Sunday, May 10, 2015

Frumpy - Frumpy II (1971 germany, tremendous heavy prog rock)

Inga Rumpf's Frumpy was among the most startling bands on the entire German rock scene of the early '70s, an act so diametrically opposed to the Krautrock boom beloved by critics elsewhere that first impressions of their music always leave listeners scratching their heads. 

If Frumpy has any role models, it is a collision between Meddle-era Pink Floyd and a less-precocious Uriah Heep. Frumpy 2, unsurprisingly their second album, features just four tracks, but all are soaring slabs of emotive guitar and keyboards, deeply progressive of course, but unquestionably pop as well. Even at a shade over ten minutes, "How the Gypsy Was Born" sounds like a hit single, while the churning Hammond organ brings Deep Purple to mind in full on "Black Night"/"Woman From Tokyo" mode. Rumpf herself, meanwhile, has a range and depth comparable to Curved Air's Sonja Kristina, with an emotive strength which seems all the more remarkable when you remember that English is not her native language. 

The shifting, complex "Take Care of Illusion" brings the best out of her in every way imaginable, while the lengthy instrumental break during the closing "Duty" allows her bandmates to shine with equal aplomb. The guitar and keyboard solos and duels which take place above the tumultuous rhythms are as spectacular as anything else in the genre. But even while you're sitting slack-jawed in awe, it is very difficult to play favorites. 

Frumpy, like Rumpf's Atlantis after them, has antecedents aplenty, and their influences peep out behind every corner. But the manner in which they've been sewn together owes little to any Anglo-American role models and little to any Krautrock basics, too. Quite simply, Frumpy 2 is the prog album you'll be returning to long after the others have all dulled into wallpaper.
by Dave Thompson
1. Good Winds (I. Rumpf) - 10:08
2. How the Gypsy Was Born (J. J. Kravetz, I. Rumpf) - 8:49
3. Take Care of Illusion (J. J. Kravetz, I. Rumpf) - 7:35
4. Duty (J. J. Kravetz, I. Rumpf) - 12:14

*Inga Rumpf - Guitar, Vocals
*Rainer Baumann - Guitar
*Carsten Bohn Bandstand - Bass, Percussion
*Jean Jacques Kravetz - Keyboards
*Karl Heinz Schott - Bass

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  1. Frumpy was a German progressive rock band based in Hamburg, debuted at the Essen International Pop & Blues Festival in April 1970,the band was active between 1970–1972 and 1990–1995. Frumpy in basically in its entirety took a with of the folk group The City Preachers, managed by Irishman John O'Brien-Docker, and operates in Germany, in the late sixties. Part of the musicians of the band decided to start working on their own account, min. vocalist Inga Rumpf, and her anagram of her name became the band's name. Formation stood out among the other performers - it was created by experienced musicians, after several years 'seniority' in playing music, say Anglo-Saxon and, therefore, they also began to create something like that. First of all, they played differently, not so blocky and squarely, how many bands from Germany, only more racially, with feelingiem, to this Inga Rumpf (distinctive, rough, low, very nearly very strong male voice) sings almost without an accent and on good cause can be take a them as a band from the British Isles, their inspiration should be sought right there, mainly from the so-called contractors. British white blues - maybe not the most "spicy", but rather that more inclining towards psychedelia, jazz (or say prog-rock) - Blodwyn Pig, the second edition of Traffic, Spooky Tooth, can and Chicken Shack, Indian Summer.

  2. They recorded their debut album "All Will Be Changed" in August 1970. To promote the album the band embarked on a fifty-night German tour with Spooky Tooth, as well as playing supporting slots with Yes, Humble Pie and Renaissance. The album received both critical acclaim and commercial success. In 1971, just before the band started recording their second album, called "Frumpy 2", they recruited former Sphinx Tush guitarist Rainer Baumann to the line-up.

    With this second album, Frumpy strikes big and even bigger. Already, the debut album having sold in respectable amounts (partly due to their superb gimmix cover, this fully unfoldable round plastic artwork was even more impressive, but here the music on the wax slice was altogether more satisfying than on their previous effort. One must say that now Frumpy is a quintet , and Key-man JJ Kravetz gets a very helpful hand from newcoming guitarist Rainer Baumann. The sound is much more even and fuller, allows more less repetition and the solos are thankfully shorter.

    Only four tracks on here ranging from 7:30 to 12 min+ and a more dramatic feel with Rumpf's impressive (but not always very feminine - in a positive way) vocals, a still dominating organ (Kravetz was not give room that easy) and a lyrical guitar, the whole thing underlined by Carsten Bohn' excellent drumming. In early 70's Germany, Frumpy were close to the top in every musician polls with Kraan. With a relative basic (compared to what's coming up) riff, Good Winds is an annunciation of things to come, but clearly a poor (but relative, giving the quality of the whole album) start to an otherwise excellent album. Sometimes sounding like Uriah Heep (Kravetz's play is similar to Hensley in many ways, but he gets more freedom than Ken), this track is interrupted by a quiet church organ-like atmosphere before building slow crescendo returning to the energetic riffing from the start, but it is damn well taking a lot of meanders. The sometimes Spanish-sounding Gypsy Was Born is a full-blown track, that could be considered an epic if it was slightly longer. With passages sometimes reminding of Beatles's Walrus track, Rumpf's vocals sounding like a primal-screaming Lennon.

    Opening the second side, is the shorter Illusions, here Rumpf and the band sounds more like Affinity's only album, meaning that the track has also a bluesier and psychier feel. The c entral section is simply a pure joy. The album closes on a real killer-track, the lenghty Duty, where all five shine on a cloudless day, burning holes through your eardrums and frying your mind with their delightfully energetic prog rock. Also accompanied by extraordinary content and unusual form of release of the album - a round, fold-out cover, packed in a transparent, plastic bag. Unfortunately, it concerned only the vinyl version, the compact was published in the traditional box.