Exposé Online banner

Pancake — No Illusions
(Garden of Delights CD 167, 1979/2012, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2018-06-08

No Illusions Cover art

Pancake started life as the psychedelic band Nyrvana Pancake, releasing a single in 1973 (“Open Your Eyes” / “Lonesome Boy”), then in 1974 with a new bass player, decided to shorten their name to Pancake and move in a more symphonic progressive rock direction. During the mid-70s, amid seeming endless personnel turnover, two full length albums Roxy Elephant and Out of the Ashes were released. Prior to the release of the third album, No Illusions, there was another major turnover leaving only founding guitarist Walter Negele and drummer Hans Derer to put together a whole new lineup, which included keyboardist Uli Frank, bassist Ralf Scheibe, and most importantly singer Biggi Zmierczak, the first time that Pancake had a female vocalist. Along with the changes came a group rethink, moving to a less symphonic, more edgy and guitar-oriented sound. Other keyboard players were featured during the recordings, but their tracks were mostly removed in favor of Frank’s. The new sound was definitely still very progressive, with two of the new album’s six tracks (“Dream Delta Land” and “Autumn Leaves”) being multi-part suites clocking in at around nine minutes each, both exceptionally superb. The new prominence of guitar gives the sound a bit more crunch while Zmierczak’s vocals are excellent, if a bit understated in the mix. “No Touch of Illusions” is a strong and straightforward title cut with a memorable refrain, opening the second side of the original LP. Also worthy of note is the five-and-a-half minute “Fire and Rain Song” that has a catchy verse and refrain alternating with more progressive guitar-driven moves, fading out at the end. Album closer “I Try” is more moody and pensive compared to the others, but a powerhouse nonetheless, with a strong keyboard driven melody. There are six bonus tracks, the first three are 1980 demos for the band’s fourth album (featuring the same lineup as No Illusions) that never got past the demo stage (though eleven cuts were recorded and are still in a vault somewhere, a possible future Garden of Delights release?), showing a more streamlined rock approach. In the spring of 1981 the band went into the studio one last time to record another album, this time with German lyrics. Zmierczak left the band mid-session, and was replaced by singer Alix Koch, previously with a band called Frame. The album was completed, but never released. Which brings us to the last three bonus tracks, taken from a Pancake reunion concert in June 2002, featuring Negele, Frank, Derer, Biggi (now Zeisel), singer Rainer Röhm (from the Out of the Ashes lineup) and other musicians. These include a great version of “No Touch of Illusions,” as well as covers of 60s standards “Hey Joe” and the Troggs' “Love Is All Around.” The six tracks that comprise the original No Illusions are arguably Pancake at their best.


Filed under: Reissues, 2012 releases, 1979 recordings

Related artist(s): Pancake

Latest news

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Cartoon - Sortie – The end of the 70s and first years of the 80s were a defining time in the history of progressive rock. The dinosaurs that had dominated throughout the first half of the 70s were rapidly becoming a...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues