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Waniyetula - Nature's Clear Well CD (album) cover

NATURE'S CLEAR WELL

Waniyetula

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.65 | 28 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars A few housekeeping items are in order here. First, the name of this band is not Galaxy, it is Waniyetula. Like so many coke-addled record executives in the latter seventies, the ones at Venus Records got the brilliant idea that they needed to practice deception to capture music fan’s interest (as opposed to simply supporting the musicians on their labels and leaving the whole ‘interest’ thing up to the fans). Secondly, this is not a Swiss band – they’re German. Not being from that part of the world, I am understandably surprised at how often that mistake gets made with German musicians that don’t sound like either Magma or the Scorpions. Weird. Finally, the album cover that is usually shown for this record is not the only one it was released with. The better one features a spaced-out sketch of a statue that appears to be on another planet, and looks like one of those monolith statues on Easter Island. Very cool.

So despite all the confusion, and the relative obscurity of the band, this is an excellent record. The lyrics are introspective, and are apparently supposed to represent an other-worldly view of earth through the eyes of visitors from afar. Kind of similar to the perspective of Klaatu’s ‘Hope’ album, or the Kansas tune “Nobody’s Home”. You know, the world is full of a bunch of self-destructive humans who would do well to look to the skies for inspiration and a better way of living. Pretty cheesy and idealistic, especially for 1978, although if I’m not mistaken this was actually recorded in 1976 but not released until ’78.

But anyway, the music is quite good, melodic with lots of funky guitars, mellow keyboards, and harmonic vocals. And speaking of the vocals, these guys don’t sound German at all. In fact, lead singer Richard Kersten starts off the album sounding an awful lot like Parallel or 90 Degrees & the Tangent vocalist Andy Tillison, and ends up coming off as a slightly jazzy Rupert Holmes (remember ‘The Piņa Colada Song’?). And the rest of the band does a pretty fair job of parroting the rest of the Tangent on most of the backing vocals as well. Well, parroting isn’t quite the right word since this album predates any Tangent album by more than a decade. But you get the point.

The keyboards are quite good for the time period, and are a perfect example of the neo symphonic resurgence that peaked a couple years before this was released. The album had virtually no promotion that I can remember, and ended up almost immediately in the cutout bins when it was imported to America. It has since been released on CD, but still isn’t exactly well-known.

The title track is the best on the album, and like I said it sounds very much like a good Tangent album – mellow vocals, intricate and vibrant keyboards and piano, jazzy guitars (including a lot of acoustic guitar), and a varied tempo that makes the track seem even longer and more epic-like than its eleven minutes.

The rest of the album is in much the same vein, with the exceptions of “Dreams out in The Rain” which has an Alan Parsons Project feel to it; “I've Come from a World” which sounds like it was recorded apart from the rest of the album and has a latter-seventies borderline arena-rock anthem groove; and the closing “Wish I Were Happy”, which was clearly written to be performed at the end of a live concert (acoustic guitar strumming, string synths, and a jam session ending.

This is a very good album, as I said at the beginning. It was poorly promoted, badly positioned by the band’s label, and just generally not given a chance to be successful. The band would end up putting out an album under their real name several years later, and a couple decades after they broke up Garden of Delights (God bless those guys!) put out a compilation of early recordings, including “You Really Got it Fixed” and “Wish I Were Happy” from this album. Neither of those recordings has the feel of understated grace that this one has though, so if you have to choose, get this one. Four stars.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |

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