Pell Mell hailing from the city of Marburg, released albums that are considered to be the Creme de la Creme when it comes to German symphonic music.
Written by: Eric
ARTIST: Pell Mell
LABEL: Bacillus Records
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Germany
LINEUP: Thomas Schmitt – violin, guitars, vocals * Otto Pusch – organ, piano * Rudolf Schon – vocals, recorder, guitar * Jorg Gotzfried – bass * Mitch Kniesmeijer – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 The Clown And The Queen * 02 Moldau * 03 Friend * 04 City Monster * 05 Alone
I’ve never been a big fan of the ‘Krautrock’ movement. Too many drugged-out jams and meandering nonsensical vocals for my sensitive tastes, but within the psychedelic haze that was early 70’s West Germany sprouted some decent bands familiar to Glory Daze readers including The Scorpions, Eloy and Lucifer’s Friend.
Pell Mell hailing from the historic city of Marburg, never found the same commercial success, but among progressive aficionados, the group’s early albums are considered to be the Creme de la Creme when it comes to German symphonic music.
Musically the Pell Mell sound skirts Procol Harum and The Nice although let me be clear, the group does not share the same virtuosity. In fact, Pell Mell comes off a little rough almost as if ‘Marburg’ was recorded in a very short period of time, maybe in one take. Still, there’s plenty here for symphonic fans to latch onto.
Keyboardist Otto Pusch is the star of the show offering up a dazzling array of classically influenced motifs and all the more surprising he was replaced midway through the group’s second album ‘From the New World’.
Pell Mell put their best foot forward with a brief interpretation of Czech composer Bedrich Smetana‘s ‘Moldau’ which is very tranquil and folksy. Try to imagine Fairport Convention in a prog mood and like Pusch’s keys, the violin work of Thomas Schmitt gives this song and the album a distinct classical flavor.
However, choosing a better vocalist should have been considered. The singing in English is not bad, just not great and symptomatic of so much German rock of the era.
As the decade wore on, Pell Mell adopted a more commercial approach on albums like 1978’s ‘Only A Star’, but this really wasn’t their forte and the group disbanded in the early 80’s. ‘Marburg’ was reissued on CD several years ago and could very well be out of print although it’s still relatively easy to find.