Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Achtung! Spitfire!

Released 1973 on Krankenplatten
Reviewed by Moon Cat, 01/04/2003ce

A truly unsung piece of Krautrock kosmicheness, “Achtung! Spitfire!” has long been a little heard and much-sought lump of glutinous sonic ear pudding to the devout and staunchly jackbooted Kraut connoisseur since it’s release to widespread indifference on April 1, 1973.

“SüpaStuka” arose from the tangled metal ashes of the mid ‘60’s nascent and standoffish German beat scene when group (squadron) leader, bassist/vocalist Klaus Eienekleineweiner began to tire of the scene’s slavish reliance on covers of popular UK & USA beat tunes. Though the group, then called “Jerry & The Doodlebugs”, did include some original numbers in their repertoire, such as “Baby Do Ya Würst” & “Do do the Doodlebug (sha na na na heil heil!)”, Klaus was looking ever outward to developing a sound that encompassed his desires for a home-grown German crazy rock sound.

Ditching their ex-pat Brit drummer ‘Pinky’ Bigglesworth in 1969 the Doodlebugs morphed into “SüpaStuka”, a development that was made chiefly possible by their recruiting of the almost robotically metronomic tub-thumper Hans Freikopfbascher, whose incredible technique arose from his complete lack of arms, lost in a freak zeppelin accident, forcing him to pound his minimal but huge kit with head & feet alone. With Klaus firmly, deeply entrenched on bass/vocals, as if on the Western front, and long term partner and kraut guitar uberfuhrer Uter Reeperbaum, SüpaStuka were idling, waiting, always….waiting. With ol’ Hans on board, SüpaStuka were ready to soar!

SüpaStuka released their first album “Astral Rejection” in 1970, and though the ‘Stuka sound was beginning to form & coalesce like a jelly tumour on a dogs nose, “Astral Rejection” lacks the vital spark that the band would find by the time “Achtung! Spitfire!” was recorded.

Sales were sluggish and slimey and a second album “Der Scheisehund” followed in 1971. Again, a patchy album though it is notable for the first sign of the free form epics that would make the ‘Stuka’s name in the form of the last song on side 2, “Klömpf Bubble”. A 10 minute, one chord fat beefy bitch of a tune, powered by mono-bassic quakes and machine like drum clanks, this is really where it all started for the band on their voyage to the beyond, the back of beyond, beyond that and back again.

By the time the band entered their Scheisehaus studio to work on “Achtung! Spitfire!”in late 1972 after a lengthy and mostly forgotten tour, Klaus was ready to tear the rule-book up, crap on it and throw it at a passing tram. He insisted the band go in the studio with absolutely no fucking idea of what they were gonna do, a masterstroke that led to this quivering punnet of krautrock cock wobbles.
Boasting just three tracks this album is one god almighty fucking space mess, the sound of panzer divisions colliding into planets, and angels being mercilessly blown out the sky with maximum efficiency by squadrons of mutha Fockers. Awesome!

Track 1, “The Queer Sphere” is an 8 min, beguiling piece of trippery frippery where Uter’s cascading fret nuzzling shimmers across the bass n’ drum counter bash like silvery spangles on gluey macaroni. As the one note melody minimal fuss clouds your mind like the Shadow can, Klaus intones in amusingly pidgin English “How Queer Zat Sphere is Here”, his stentorian tones a lobe massage for lobes, both frontal & ear.
Track 2 “Mein Daschhund Mitzi” is an almost pastoral fluffy doggy winsome fizz bang of a tune. Light acoustic diminished and depressed chords pave the way for Klaus to sing atonally about a dead sausage dog. Emotive and unwieldy, this 5.50 minutes knee trembler is coloured with sexy texture by Han’s right foot pump and his nose gently brushing a glockenspiel. Lovely.
However it’s track 3 on this buggeryfuck of an album that really gets the true Krautrock backpacker choking his chicken. “Füryouizinkderwarisovah!” is a 68 min Kaiser krunch of an epic, so large in fact the final 8 minutes have to be played on a 7” extra single that came with the double vinyl album.
The drums kick off at a mid paced k’doof as Uter’s guitar slowly wibbly-shuffles into view ( An extra dimension to the band’s sound is added by the addition of mellow synthgloops and space tuba from the guesting Ralf Mulletchz and Heidi Boobenheim, bizarrely borrowed from prog-folksters Pumpernickel.) The tempo quickens as Klaus dolefully whimpers on themes of possible space invading when KERFUCKINGRANG, Uter drops a massive powerchord faster than a bullet in a Berlin bunker. And so for just under an hour of full on stürm unt drone all Valhalla is channelled through the three ‘Stuka’s; you can practically feel their pain and smell the toxic fear as they build this huge sprawling Kosmiche ball bag of conflicting omnichrotic plasma rock deftly tinged with the complete & utter denial of any responsibility for what the fuck is taking place. A full on amp-rovised, das bootiful, weiner jerking wig off! If this don’t squeeze your tits then you’d be dead in a disco dumkopf!

So there we have it, “Achtung! Spitfire!” a full on mind meltdown of Krautrock madness and what would prove to be the apogee of the Stuka’s far out ragnarock n roll. Though later albums had their moments, non quite capture the scrotum stroking ache of this wunder platter! Indeed as any ‘Stukanaut will tell you, anything the band did after 1976 has a tendency to be a bit pissy, veinless & flaccid, as though they truly beat on the bratwurst & shot their mütter load with this astonishing fuck-chunk of an album
As it says so well on the run out groove, WE HAF VAYS OFF MAKING YOU DIG ZIS. They sure do! So whaddya waiting for? To the record store, mach schnell!

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