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Album Review

Guru Guru's second album starts off on a chaotic note, but "Electric Junk" soon resolves itself into a full-on band jam and takes it from there, showing again that the band readily trod the fine line between merely skilled and truly inspired. There's always a nagging sense on this album that the group is but one step away from prog rock w**k of the worst kind, but then there'll be a thick blast of righteous noise or a suddenly lovely dark chime that feels more Blue Oyster Cult than Emerson, Lake & Palmer, say. This can even happen out of nowhere, like the odd spoken word pronouncements interrupting the attempted drum solo on "Electric Junk" or the open-ended electronic moans and echoed calls during the floating midsection of "Space Ship." "The Meaning of Meanings" has the most "way deep, man" feeling on the whole album, as the title perhaps demonstrates, but even it has room for a rather bizarre midsection where the lyrics aren't sung or shouted as much as groaningly sighed over a slowly building full-band burst. Neumeier's drumming here is actually some of his best, while Genrich sounds like he's inventing some of Daniel Ash's feedback freakouts years in advance. The oddest number of the four mostly is such due to the name — one would figure that calling a song "Bo Diddley" and clearly chanting the title at various points during the song would mean a full-on rave-up in the rock legend's vein. Anything but! There's enough of a smoky feel going on to suggest the influence the likes of Quicksilver Messenger Service incorporated, say, but a Diddley-beat workout this isn't, though there are a few game attempts here and there to try — sort of.

Customer Reviews

Cosmic Carnage

Guru Guru's second album for Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser's Ohr label begins as though stirring from a psychedelic slumber to a screaming alertness; a call of "Electric Junk" and the romp begins. The hallucinogenics kick in again half way through while drummer Mani Neumaier recites some wierd and suitably censorable bobbins over skittering drums and tremelo-yanked guitar. This is only the first track of four! "The Meaning of Meaning" gets cosmic and deep again with its psycholinguistic meandering, whereas side two kicks off as does side one with the call to disorder of "Bo Diddley" which again romps away in an uncontrolled yet semi-ordered bluster. Finally "Space Ship" (far more 'out there' than the MC5 track of the same name) sets the controls for the heart of the brain. Swooshing, bleeping and crackling with electricity, backward masked drums and guitar (isn't that Electric Junk running backwards deep in the mix there?) drive off blindly into the cosmos until slipping away through a wormhole in space. Unnerving for the uninitiated but a joy for those who know, Joe. Hop on the next saucer with Guru Guru!


Formed: 1970 in Germany

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Formed in 1970, Guru Guru was a German prog rock outfit whose largely instrumental work set the group squarely within the boundaries of what is commonly referred to decades later as Krautrock. While guitarist Ax Genrich, Uli Trepte, and keyboardist/drummer (and Cluster collaborator) Mani Neumeier remained the core of the band throughout its ten-year existence, a number of other musicians passed through the band's ranks, including Cluster co-founder Hans-Joachim Roedelius, who played keyboards on...
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Hinten, Guru Guru
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