Punk rock band Die Ärzte
Album of the week:
Album cover of »Dunkel«
Photo: Hot Action Records
One can argue about whether it is simply brilliant or simply dull to get the very best out of the phonetic harmony between the English "Noise" and the German "Neues". But if anyone can get away with such simple word games in 2021, it will be Die Ärzte. “It's time for something new”, this is how the Berlin punk rock band announced their new album with the single “Noise”. Loud guitars and a stormy spontaneous gesture waft through the song, perhaps the most powerful of all rock 'n' roll messages is clear: When the social night is deepest, the noise against the circumstances - the noise - must be greatest.
It is not without reason that the new doctors album, programmatically titled »Dunkel«, appears shortly before a federal election, which is also a directional decision for the country. After the flood disaster in July, singer Farin Urlaub unequivocally committed himself to the Greens, the politically influenced songs on the album are now apparently intended to shake up those who are still undecided and politically disaffected in the last few meters. "I would actually wish - I know, a megalomaniac wish - that three more people would vote because of that, then I'll have achieved everything," said Urlaub, 57, in an interview this week.
It shouldn't be that megalomaniac because the band hasn't polarized for a long time. It belongs to the pop consensus of a liberal boomer generation who still fondly remembers the wild years of indexing provocative doctors 'songs like "Geschwisterliebe" or "Claudia hat' nen Schäferhund" in the eighties, but at the latest since the anti- Nazi hymn "Scream for Love" (1993) knows that the doctors do not shake all the pillars of society, but above all those who are on the far right. The expected question, »Is that still punk rock?«, Was answered by the band in 2012 in the song of the same name, ironically ironically as usual: »I don't think so.«. This did not detract from the commercial success of the doctors, on the contrary.
When their previous album »Hell« was released less than a year ago, the trio - in addition to Urlaub it consists of drummer Bela B, 58, and bassist Rodrigo González, 53 - performed in fine suits before the »Tagesthemen« and played the opening jingle of the program and insisted on the precarious situation of cultural workers in the corona crisis. And now the state-supporting election call in the form of a rock album. Doesn't so much posture necessarily lead to musical hip stiffness?
There are a few unnecessarily cramped pamphlets among the 19 new songs, including the appeal against »silence« and the disaffected piece »people«. But even in the creative late phase of the doctors, most guitar riffs and rhetorical punchlines are surprisingly loose. The sound is harder and more metallic than before, hardcore punk role models such as Hüsker Dü, hard rock and ska, and once the saturated Dire Straits, are cited as a joke, of course. "Our soundtrack for the Federal Republic: Karnickelfickmusik", that's what they call it in the first piece.
Otherwise, silliness, also a trademark of this band, is saved.
The tone is gloomy, despite all the unbroken lust for puns: “Capitalism or dictatorship?
Cannibalism or rehab?
Nihilism or a fucking hairstyle?
End of broadcast or self-censorship? ”Rhymes vacation.
And: "If that is my choice, I am against everything".
Democracy has to be saved from ignorance and lethargy, as it says in the last piece, which begins in the songwriting style: "Always complaining about the stupid shitty system, that's nice and comfortable."
In the spectrum of political German pop music this is a safe number: still far enough away from the anointing hymns of Herbert Grönemeyer, but also distanced from the radical sharpness of a rapper like Danger Dan.
Dark (in a slipcase with garland)
Label: Hot Action Records
published on: 24.09.2021
Label: Hot Action Records
published on: 24.09.2021
approx. € 19.99
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A remarkable number of songs by these three well-aged white men delve into the depths of toxic masculinity on »Dunkel«.
Unmasking role prose is about types who make mistakes but still consider themselves to be the crown of creation, about the hurtful power of words but also deeds, about the silence after the punch.
In »Afternoon« the male protagonist is shot by his girlfriend, his laconic conclusion: »Love is - complicated«.
Some things on this record seem like a final loud rearing, others astonishingly mild.
They said everything, tried everything, tried every trick, every twist, every gag.
Now maybe others will soon have to fix it, like the feminist rapper Ebow, who in the song "Core Business" becomes a rare guest in a doctor's song - a kind of musical baton handover, if one regards political hip-hop as the punk rock of the new era.
But the band has often said goodbye in their almost 40-year career and then came back.
Until they really move away from the German pop stage, let them through, they are doctors!
Native Soul - "Teenage Dreams"
If you are looking for hooks or liberating breaks in this exciting, technoid deep house sound, you will get caught in a compelling mid-tempo groove of analog drum beats, endlessly hissing hi-hats, shaker rhythms and sparing sample or synthesizer accents. Amapiano is the name of this new type of South African dance music from the sprawling townships of the Gauteng province around Pretoria and Johannesburg, which has emerged from the popular Kwaito and DiBacardi genres spiced with Afro-Folk and -Jazz. Kgothatso Tshabalala, 19, and Zakhele Mhlanga alias DJ Zakes, 18, are the young stars of the scene with their almost purely instrumental tracks. »Teenage Dreams« is their inconspicuous, yet spectacular debut album,whereby pieces like "The Journey" with their dystopian impression are more reminiscent of the urban nightmare of a John Carpenter film. The "Mandalorian" hears something like that on the Walkman.
Natalie Imbruglia - "Firebird"
The eternal fate of one-hit wonders: Hardly anyone notices what they are doing after their world hit.
Natalie Imbruglia, meanwhile 46-year-old pop singer from Australia, also released a couple of albums after »Torn«, most recently in 2015 one with cover versions of men's songs.
For »Firebird«, which only sounds different in a few disturbing soul and eighties nuances from their debut from 1997 (only without a new instant hit), should cause a little more sensation.
The power sound of Imbruglia and contemporaries from the turn of the millennium, courageously reaching for self-empowerment, is currently being rediscovered and celebrated by young pop artists like Lorde.
One remains torn between curiosity and nostalgia.
Caleb Landry Jones - "Gadzooks Vol. 1"
If this name sounds familiar to you, it is probably because it has just won the actor's award at the Cannes Film Festival for his role as a young borderliner in the Australian film »Nitra«.
The Texan was previously seen as a banshee in "X-Men: First Class" and in "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri".
Jones is also a musician and came through a recommendation from Jim Jarmusch to the Brooklyn avant-garde label Sacred Bones.
All pretty cool (unlike Johnny Depp's pop excursions).
Fortunately also his music, which on his second album staggers gorgeously between John Lennon's solo work, sixties psychedelics and fuzzy Bowie - and dares to attack with glamorous noise.
Charming competition for Ty Segall.