This 2CD set twins Steppenwolf's 3rd studio album At Your Birthday Party (1969) with their 5th studio album Seven (1970).
It is fortunate that Seven is a real tour-de-force, because Birthday Party is not the band's most consistent or strongest album...
Yep, At Your Birthday Party comes as a bit of a disappointment in the wake of their truly sensational debut album and follow-up The Second. By now, the band were in a frenzy of touring, and lacked the time and opportunity to work up new numbers before hitting the studio.... and unfortunately it shows. Some cracking songs hold the album together - It's Never Too Late, Rock Me, Happy Birthday and Jupiter Child - but a lot of the album falls short of what you'd expect on a Steppenwolf album.
Seven, on the other hand, is a cracking album, with not a baggy filler of a song in sight. The whole album is simply superb, classic Steppenwolf. A lot of the album is driving hard-rock - Ball Crusher, Hippo Stomp, Who Needs Ya, etc, but there are quieter almost delicate moments like Hoyt Axton's Snow Blind Friend (Axton penned the group's earlier hit - The Pusher). There are also moments of fun in Fat Jack, a song about the hotdog seller next to the studio. Renegade also deserves a mention, this being a song about John Kay's (aka Joachim Krauledat) escape from Communist East Germany as a boy. And as for Earschplittenloudenboomer... well I'll leave you to work that one out for yourself.
Seven would have been a five star album on it's own, and Birthday Party a three. So I'm inclined to give four stars overall... But hold on. For value alone I think this 2CD pack is worth an extra star. So ***** from me.