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zweitejugend elekronischekoerpermusik
Artist: Zweite Jugend
Title: Elektronische Körpermusik
Genre: EBM / Electro Punk
Release Date: 1st March 2019
Label: BRANDSATZ Records


Album Review

You should always be careful when you review music produced by friends, there’s always some sort of conflict of interest. You either run danger to deliver a courtesy review or to be hypercritical to avoid precisely the impression you’d just deliver a sweetheart report. In this regard, this album both sucks and is brilliant at the same time, if you know what I mean… ;-)

But let’s start at the beginning! ZWEITE JUGEND is a duo from Osnabrück, Germany, featuring the two lovely chaps Marcel Lüke (drums, programming) and singer and keyboardist Eli van Vegas. Both were involved in a number of local guitar bands until Eli van Vegas, who learnt to play piano and the guitar in his childhood, founded the EBM project COMBAT COMPANY together with his partner Homer to realize a completely different kind of sound. When Marcel Lüke joined as a drummer, COMBAT COMPANY soon evolved into ZWEITE JUGEND, a project with a much more radical concept and more minimal sound.

ZWEITE JUGEND’s debut album, ‘Liebe ist Luxus’, was released in 2016 and became a succès d'estime in the EBM scene. Deliberately retro, ZWEITE JUGEND’s mix of acoustic drums, warbling electronic sequences, abstract lyrics and bellowing vocals were a tad reminiscent of DEUTSCH-AMERIKANISCHE FREUNDSCHAFT. Although the two friends indeed tried to conjure a nostalgic sensation, which also shows in the vintage-looking artwork of their debut, ZWEITE JUGEND is more than just an attempt to imitate a certain style. While some other bands who pay tribute to first movers like DAF or early NITZER EBB indulge in shallow-brained EBM macho poses, ZWEITE JUGEND allow their (Street) Punk roots to show. A subtle but significant difference, which also shows in their decidedly left-wing socio-critical lyrics.

‘Elektronische Körpermusik’ (“electronic body music” in German, as you may have guessed) is now their second offering, and other than the point-blank title might suggest ZWEITE JUGEND’s new long-player is not an even deeper journey into the past but a big leap into the future by refining the ingredients of ZWEITE JUGEND’s sound and introducing more melodic elements to their reduced sound. The single ‘Leah und Alissa’ - a song about lesbian love which is at last not simply written from a lascivious, voyeuristic male perspective - already spurred some attention and had quite some success in the German Alternative Chart (DAC). There’s no doubt that the album is going to excel the success of the single, last but not least as there is a good deal of songs which suggest themselves as further singles. Be it the anti-war song ‘Kriegergen’, the dancy ‘Die ganze Nacht’, the sweaty love song ‘Alte Schule’ or the hypnotic title song, Eli van Vegas and Marcel Lüke are spoilt for choice in this regard. My personal favourite is the Neue Deutsche Welle-flavoured ‘Weisses Rauschen’ with hilarious yet rather political, anti-consumerist lyrics. Somehow it’s ZWEITE JUGEND’s Electro Punk version of THE GODFATHERS ‘Birth School Work Death’, or ‘Everyday Is Exactly The Same’ as Trent Reznor once put it.

But besides a bunch of catchy tunes with compelling rhythms it’s the razor-sharp production of the album which I really find impressive. For creating the music they used exclusively a Roland SH-101 and Korg’s MS-20 and ARP Odyssey, another voluntary limitation. They do have a strict concept and follow it meticulously, just to find more freedom in what they do. Despite all self-limitations in music and concept, the production itself is state-of-the-art and spot on and allows the rolling sequencers to display their full potential, while the acoustic drums are embedded nicely in the sparse Electro sound. Where other acts follow the “the louder the better” rule, ZWEITE JUGEND refuse the loudness war. Which is a good thing, as there is a lot of dynamics in the sound which makes ‘Elektronische Körpermusik’ a great sounding album on any system.

Sceptics might still say that ZWEITE JUGEND were a one-to-one copy of DAF, last but not least because both bands have the same setup with an acoustic drum kit, driving synth lines and commanding vocals. Although legitimately claiming that ZWEITE JUGEND is not a mere replica, Eli van Vegas and Marcel Lüke don’t shy away from admitting that DAF - and early NITZER EBB and 1980s DIE KRUPPS, for that matter - are their main influences. When the two German youngsters started their project their old heroes were pretty much inactive or, as in the case of DIE KRUPPS, made a different kind of sound already, so ZWEITE JUGEND is an attempt to keep the flag flying for minimalist electronic music with a Punk attitude. And this Punk attitude is what distinguishes ZWEITE JUGEND from most contemporaries which try to follow the footsteps of their old heroes. And unlike DAF, there is not too much dissonant experimentation on ‘Elektronische Körpermusik’. Everything is quite in-yer-face and goes straight to the feet. ‘Flucht von der Erde’ and ‘Kontronym’ are the only songs when ZWEITE JUGEND show a quirkier, eccentric slow-tempo side. And as these two songs are album opener and album closer they are nice braces for the other nine, rather energetic and upfront tracks.

With their second album, ZWEITE JUGEND recommend themselves as the next go-to thing for anybody who loves minimalist EBM and Electro Punk and I for one am curious to which heights their short tour, including a prestigious gig at the Wave Gotik Treffen, will take them. Actually I already can’t wait for their third album!


Tracklist

01. Flucht von der Erde
02. Kriegergen
03. Falsche Freunde
04. Elektronische Körpermusik
05. Die ganze Nacht
06. Weißes Rauschen
07. Leah und Alissa
08. Alte Schule
09. Alles wie immer
10. Heile Welt
11. Kontronym


Line-up

Eli van Vegas - Vocals, programming
Marcel Lüke - Drums, programming


Website

https://www.zweitejugend.de / https://www.facebook.com/ZweiteJugend


Cover Picture

zweitejugend elekronischekoerpermusik


Rating

Music: 8.5
Sound: 10
Total: 9.3 / 10


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