~reviewed by Mick Mercer
Although there are many lyrics in English on this album, the fact that much of the deeper spoken/sung male offerings is in German means something deep and meaningful is lost on me, which is a shame. Evidently, it's been three years since their last album and it took them a year to record this one. They use synths and electronics in what they see as a classical method, with no Industrial or Electro intrusion, setting you up for a moody encounter.
Steffi Hensel offers dreamy female vocals, offsetting the dark, intellectualised male approach, and the album starts with a powerful but serene flow, and rarely lets up. The distinct instrumentation throughout the album is always dominated by the vocals, and you're not getting any ethereal lightness here, because they have a full sound, which is sensibly never cluttered. These do have a modern classical composition feel about them, so if that's what makes you tingle I'd advise a visit to their site. Think a younger Goethes Erben and you're more than halfway there.
'Armenia' finds a different whirling rhythm, and sees them whoosh upwards halfway, suggesting they do understand volume and it isn't all a pleasant drift through pain and loneliness (their main lyrical concerns). Musically, they have their interesting touches, 'An Uns Vorbel' being layered drones, and 'Hauchendes Zart' so perkily classical you know they recorded in tutus, for all their intense facial expressions. Their occasional slide into 80's synth rock signatures is unwelcome but brief, as is the lovey-dovey sweetness of their most optimistic track, 'Natales', but they end the experience with a track of modern news samples to put things in a bewildering context.
A beautiful record then, but a knowledge of German would make the experience twice as good.