Review Summary: Although it is essentially an experimental album, the unexpected balance makes Los Sounds de Krauts one of the most accessible and enjoyable albums of the band.
Colour Haze is a German band with a very consistent career - in 15 years they released nine albums with the same line-up. This is fairly remarkable, given that most of the first bands which define the European Stoner-Rock don't exist anymore, or they are just reuniting recently due to the explosion of the genre in recent years. In this context, Los Sounds de Krauts is a milestone in the career of Colour Haze, and it is for most devoted fans their best album. However, it can never be compared to the objectivity of Tempel (2006) and Colour Haze (2004), albums that became classics in the psychedelic scene, and finally brought international recognition.
It is a milestone indeed because the band define their sound and reach maturity, and consequently start to get discovered outside of Germany. But incredibly, they did it so using some experimentalism. In fact, Los Sounds de Krauts is the Colour Haze album where the experimentalism resulted better - All (2008) has good ideas, but as a whole, is far from excellence, and She Said (2012) is a chaotic outburst. The explosion of ideas and inspiration in Los Sounds de Krauts was so intense that Stefan Koglek, the genius guitar player, just had to polish the rough edges off to produce the following two albums, seen as perfect in terms of composition: Colour Haze (2004) and Tempel (2006).
So Los Sounds de Krauts begins the golden age of Colour Haze. The playlist points in different directions in their two discs, in order to pay tribute to the basic influences of the band. This is much more noticeable on the first disc. "I Won't Stop", opens the album and is a succession of the best stoner riffs that Stefan Koglek has produced so far. The rest of the playlist expresses the will of the band to go further than just a bunch of riffs. "I Won't Stop" is a tribute to the previous albums, but "Roses" is admittedly kraut, and leads us to think that we are listening to a band that is much more than an European desert-rock successor. The track "Zen" goes even further - the inimitable mix of Jazz and Kraut starts here, with Stefan showing his skills in the second part of the song by combining both technique and melody. The first part of the album ends by paying tribute respectively to the band's three main influences: stoner-rock, kraut-rock, and jazz.
As in Welcome to the Sky Valley (Kyuss album, 1994), Colour Haze decided to split this double album in 4 parts, each one representing a cardinal point. Therefore, the remaining three parts are a parade of 'colourizian' masterpieces (yes, from this album on it's allowed to use this terminology), interspersed by small compositions ranging from punk in "Other Side", to the lullabye in "Schlafield". The times when Black Sabbath used acoustic instrumentals as breaks are gone. These fast tracks add little to the overall work of Colour Haze, but they give the necessary balance to an album mainly prized by "Plazmakeks", "Sundazed", "Weltraummantra" and "Overriding". These songs are long compositions and are a true test of patience for the unsuspecting listeners who are less familiar with their orgasmic climaxes, that reach doomy monoliths as the end of "Weltraummantra". "Love" (from Colour Haze, 2004) is such a masterpiece because Stefan Koglek had more than enough room in Los Sounds de Krauts, to work on the circular structures which seem to explode unpredictably at the right time. This generates an exceptional musical pleasure that can be confused with an hallucinogenic effect. "Plazmakeks" is actually the best example.
"Sundazed" and "Overriding" are probably the most accomplished songs on the album, because their psychedelic tributes are more the result of composition than mere experimentation. "Sundazed" is guided by the most primitive kraut-rock; and "Overriding" is a true hymn to the psych heavy-metal born with Jimi Hendrix, and it comes with a great vocal performance that is not particularly usual in Stefan Koglek.
"Overriding, in my mind, in my life, in my heart, in my soul, in my head..."
Combining conceptuality with genius could only give rise to an unforgettable album. Although it is essentially an experimental album, the unexpected balance makes Los Sounds de Krauts one of the most accessible and enjoyable albums of the band. It makes perfect sense to be in their Top 3. Even if Colour Haze, despite going through a creative disorientation, has no plans to stop anytime soon.