Exposé Online banner

Inquire — Melancholia
(Musea FGBG 4459.AR, 2003, 2CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2005-09-01

Melancholia Cover artThe second CD on this 2-disk set is devoted to a lively and entertaining rendition of Louis Verne’s 3rd Organ Symphony. Fans of Keith Emerson’s various classical interpretations, or IQ’s better neo-prog instrumentals such as “For Christ’s Sake” will eat it up, despite only clocking in at 18 minutes. But the real object of our attention is the first disk, the concept album Melancholia. It’s interesting that a German band should adopt so very French a source as Jean Paul Sartre’s Nausea for this concept album. Germans are, however, not without their reputation for deeply intellectual art. Based on Melancholia it’s well earned, though what’s also demonstrated is that this is a band with serious muscle. Inquire is (or was, as they have since apparently disbanded) keyboard player Robert Köhler, guitarist Dieter Cromen and drummer Thomas Kohls. To their credit, this band avoids derivative pitfalls and traps, though Köhler proves himself a player of immense talent in the mold of Keith Emerson. He and Cromen do a good job of sharing key melodic and thematic refrains as well as lead parts and solos. Cromen’s vocals remind me a bit of Versus X’s Arne Schaffer (in English and French) and even Peter Hammill at times, though much of the album also features spoken parts, both male and female in French and English. The songs and arrangements are glued to the narrative context of the story though the band never misses a chance to indulge in some heavy duty progressive rock instrumental heroics as seen in “Nausea,” “Der Autodidakt,” and “The Museum.” As concept albums go, this is one of the best examples I’ve heard in a long time with instrumental workouts that evenly balance out understandably broader arrangements that serve to move the narrative forward and tons of variety to keep the prog from getting stale. Fans of IQ should definitely check this out, though prog fans of all stripes will find much to like about this collection.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 32, 2003 releases

Related artist(s): Inquire

Latest news

2018-01-05
Ray Thomas RIP – On Thursday, 4 January 2017, the world lost Ray Thomas, founding member of the Moody Blues. Thomas sang and played flute, and was responsible for writing a number of the band's most memorable songs. He was 76. » Read more

2017-12-22
Roswell Rudd RIP – Jazz trombonist Roswell Rudd, one of the distinctive players of his instrument in many strains of music, has died at the age of 82. With a career stretching back to the early 60s and over a hundred recordings featuring his playing, he leaves behind a substantial legacy. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2013. » Read more

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Joie Tet - All Structures Unstable – It starts with an aggressive riff on the bari sax run doubled an octave lower with a harmonizer; a bit later you get a distorted melody played on an instrument you can't quite identify from the...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues