Electra - 1986 Augen Der Sehnsucht

EricEric USA
edited August 2 in year-1986

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ARTIST: Electra
ALBUM: Augen Der Sehnsucht
LABEL: Amiga
SERIAL: 8 56 155
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 2016, Electra Die Original Amiga-Alben 8 CD set Sechzehnzehn Music production, BF 06622

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: Bernd Aust - sax, flute, keyboards, vocals * Manuel Von Senden - lead vocals * Gisbert Koreng - guitar, vocals * Wolfgang Riedel - bass, vocals * Andreas Leuschner - keyboards * Dietmar Stephan - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Vier Milliarden * 02 Nie Zuvor * 03 Augen Der Sehnsucht * 04 Wieder Mal Fliegen * 05 Brucke Durch Die Nacht * 06 In Der Stunde Der Glut * 07 Unterwegs Nach Hause * 08 Stadtlandschaft * 09 Abends In Der Stadt * 10 Die Letzte Nacht * 11 Der Musikant * 12 Epilog

WEBLINKS: Site Link (German)

Background

Think of the former East Germany or the DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik) and it's hard not to remember the ghastly black and white film footage of poor souls trying to flee their oppressive country for the Berlin wall, getting caught in rows of barbed-wire fence and sadly mowed down by indiscriminate machine gun fire. Horrifying to watch by even today's standards.

So it might be surprising to some that under this dismal, iron-fisted rule and extreme censorship, there was a small but vital music scene albeit much of it influenced by West German pop via black market LP's and radio.

But still, under the circumstances it's amazing it existed at all. The state-run Amiga label provided an outlet for musicians and bands but always under the ever watchful eye of DDR officials.

Electra was one of the countries longest running and most successful bands going back to the early 70's appearing on Amiga's numerous and always interesting 'Hallo' compilations.

The group got around to releasing just one LP in 1974 called 'Adaptionen' which was a classically based instrumental album akin to The Nice and Dutch band Ekseption.

Other albums that saw the light of day in the 1970's were essentially compilations of singles, demos and odds 'n sods but by 1980 Electra were back at it, releasing the ambitious rock opera' Die Sixtinische Madonna' which combined Rick Wakeman's early efforts with the musical: 'Jesus Christ Superstar'.

Unfortunately this was the beginning of even more draconian censorship efforts in the DDR and Amiga wanted a 'safer', less radical sound from its signings.

The Songs

In 1986 Electra released its sixth album 'Augen Der Sehnsucht' which translated means 'Eyes of Yearning' and the times had definitely changed, noticeably moving away from its classical leanings towards a sound similar to West Germany's Novalis and their later albums.

The sleeve certainly reflects the times with big hair on the female model and on the back-side Electra dressed in black and reds looking for better or worse like Loverboy.

If you can get past the non-English vocals, musically this is certainly acceptable AOR and while the Novalis comparison is most apparent, fellow countrymen Lift and Hungarian superstars Omega can be heard in the newly minted Electra as well.

'Vier Milliarden (Four Billion)' with its atmospheric intro and catchy chorus is a great start. Kudos to keyboardist Andreas Leuschner who creates some fantastic moods and lead vocalist Manuel Von Senden who sometimes sounds like a less aggressive Klaus Meine.

In fact the title track could almost be a precursor to the Euro-centric ballad 'Winds of Change' The Scorpions later became famous for.

Side two seems to be a six-part concept which was recorded live at the Kreiskulturhaus in the historic city of Greiz.

Titled 'Gesichter Einer Stadt (Faces Of A City)', it's hard to know what the storyline is here without a strong command of German, but the live version of Electra were clearly on their game with a lot of punch and power behind the songs, especially on the slap-bass funk of 'Der Musikant (The Musician)'.

In Summary

This record and the entire Electra collection can be found on the 2016 8 CD box-set 'Electra Die Original Amiga-Alben' which features each album in mini-LP cardboard sleeve, an extensive booklet with photos and liner notes in both German and English and is still in print.


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