Review Summary: "We're doing something a bit different for this release" is almost always a sure-fire way to spot a bad release. Not in this case, though. Far from it.
released their extremely original and supremely well-written debut album in early 2009, they more or less redefined what you were to expect from a post-punk band. The record was dark and innovative, but it was also a very entertaining listen with excellent songs that would get stuck in your head for ages. In fact, the only thing anyone could really say was dissapointing about it, was it's length.
This has been rectified now.
Fast-forward to June 2010 for the release of Narcissus
, the second offering from Kellermensch
is, as far as this reviewer can tell from reading interviews, a collection of songs that "didn't really fit" on their album. And to be honest, listening to the EP that way isn't the wrong way to go at it.
The songs on Narcissus
are somewhat different than what was found on their album. They are fairly upbeat. The growls are gone. The experimentation has been toned down somewhat. The songwriting is more traditional with the guitars and drums usually taking the foreground.
For anyone who enjoyed their first album, this might sound discouraging. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
You see, what these songs lack in experimentation and originality - at least compared to their debut - they make up for in sheer quality. All these songs are fantastic. Narcissus
let's us slowly seep into the mood of the record. The song starts out very slowly with not much in the way of instrumentation, except for a subdued jazzy drumbeat and some very pretty melodic weaving between a grand piano and a violin. It's clear from the start that the lyrics are much more important on this record than on their album. And great lyrics they are.
"Come over darling, I want you to see / just what your absence is doing to me / when you left, flowers grew full of meaning to me / come out to my garden where all my dreams run free"
Although it is obvious that the escapist, symbolic lyrics that Kellermensch
was permeated with remains intact, the mood and meaning has changed from something like "life sucks and it always will" to "life sucks, but you're not to blame". The main single from the EP, Army Ants
is a perfect example of this newfound philosophy.
"Open all of your windows now / letting out the shame / No matter how you ended up this way / nobody is to blame"
Speaking of Army Ants
, that is probably also the song most people will see as the highlight. It's very well-written, easy to get into and it sounds great. The band has obviously taken some cues from some of the older influential artists out there, namely Bruce Springsteen
. Oh, and it has become a nation-wide hit in Denmark. Who would've thought?
Continuing the more traditional rock songs comes Rattle The Bones
, a very catchy number led by a very infectious baseline. It is probably also the song that resembles their older material the most, since the atmosphere throughout most of the track is rather dark.
The last new song on the EP is 30 Silver Coins
. It's a ballad, perhaps the first the band has ever recorded, but it fits in really well and has an absolutely stunning verse complete with tearjerker violin. It sounds brutally honest and raw, which is why it stands as my personal highlight on the EP.
As a special bonus for those buying the physical version, the band has given a delicious treat in the form of 4 live tracks, recorded in a live session at BBC1. The tracks sound great and really show off the vibe the band gives across live, even if it may not be the best performance the band is capable of.
To conclude, the 4 new tracks on the EP are certainly something different than the usual, and for that, Kellermensch
need to be applauded. "We're doing something a bit different for this release" is almost always a sure fire way to spot a bad release. Not in this case, though. Far from it. All the tracks are great, even if they're not the usual Kellermensch
is a good place to start for the aspiring Kellermensch
fan, but it does not reach the absolutely astounding levels of musicianship and originality found on their debut.
Recommended tracks: Army Ants, 30 Silver Coins