Polis - Unterwegs I

(CD 2023, 66:26, Progressive Promotion Records PPRCD115)

The tracks:
  1- Tropfen(10:51)
  2- Gedanken(5:04)
  3- Die Einsamkeit(6:13)
  4- Das Erste Leuchtfeuer(5:52)
  5- Eine Liebe, Tausend Leben(7:30)
  6- Danke(7:31)
  7- Sag Mir(13:57)
  8- Blumenkraft(9:28)

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After releasing the three outstanding studio albums Eins (2011), Sein (2014, see review) and Weltklang (2020, see review), the German outfit Polis are back in the spotlight with their first live album, titled Unterwegs I. An album that was released towards the end of 2023 and only just now arrived at the Background HQ. But it was certainly worth the wait for this live album.

As a lover of live albums I was very pleased to hear this first live musical effort from a band that sings in their native language. The pure raw energy from playing on a stage is very well captured on Unterwegs I. The sometimes clean studio versions get perfect live renditions which last much longer while performing them in front of an audience. I just love it this way when a band copies their compositions. I know it is also worth a compliment if a band exactly copies their sometimes complex album tracks. But I rather prefer it when something extra is given to the audience. And that's what Christian Roscher (vocals), Christoph Kästner (guitar), Marius Leicht (keyboards), Andreas Sittig (bass) and Sascha Bormann (drums) do when they climb a stage.

The eight songs which you find on this release were recorded at the Woodstock Forever Festival in Waffenrod and the Alte Kaffeerösterei in Plauen. On the almost seventy minutes long album they chose to select one piece from their debut album. The very long track Sag Mir which includes a brilliant guitar solo. Just look at the album cover to see how this must have been done on the stage. From their second album you can enjoy Blumenkraft (Camel influenced song that's for sure) and Danke which features a great organ solo. Most of the tracks are taken from their last studio album. You can hear strong renditions of Tropfen, Gedanken and Eine Liebe, Tausend Leben. But also two brand new pieces were played during the concerts. Die Einsamkeit and Das Erste Leuchtfeuer show that this five piece unit can come up with some brand new excellent progressive rock tunes. Hopefully they will be included on the next studio album.

With vintage keyboards such as a Hammond organ, a Fender Rhodes and a Minimoog it is obvious that this band gets their inspiration from the seventies progressive rock bands. A band such as Pink Floyd comes to mind right from the start when you hear the excellent guitar playing and wonderful organ sound. Also the many Krautrock bands from Germany in the seventies come to mind. Most of all because of the singing in the German language. It's obvious that the musicians are influenced by bands such as Novalis, Grobschnitt, Stern Combo Meissen, and Anyone's Daughter. The fine retro prog with psychedelic moments and occasionally some hard rock parts is a must for many of our readers. Most of all if you don't mind the singing in the German language.

Therefore Polis are the great undiscovered jewel of the German prog and psychedelic scene without any doubt. Hopefully one day they will climb the stage in the Netherlands and other European countries as well. Because I think the Dutch and other European audience might be ready for this exciting live band. But for now all I can do is listen again and again to this amazing live album. And hopefully Unterwegs II will be released very soon. And when they want to make me more happy, please release it together with a concert DVD or Blu-ray disc. The many great live videos on YouTube deserve such a release. Thanks in advance!

**** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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