steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Einstürzende Neubauten

"Perpetuum Mobile" CD

Mute Records

Genres: rock, industrial, experimental rock

429 Harrow Road
London W10 4RE

Feb 16 - 22 2004

Perpetuum Mobile is Einstürzende Neubauten's follow-up to to their last full-length release, 2000's Silence Is Sexy.  And like its predecessor, this album is a remarkably quiet affair for Blixa Bargeld and crew, who in previous decades were known for their chaotic, violent bursts of industrial noise.  On these twelve tracks, we are faced with numerous subtle, yet amazingly melodic industrialized pop numbers - though the instrument list includes the usual EN suspects like sheet metal, "metal percussion," and, of course, your usual assortment of metal appliances, this record is still a remarkably infectious romp.

It is hard not to be awed by the way Einstürzende Neubauten creates songs from distinctly untuneful sounds.  Though Perpetuum Mobile is filled with noises and stray sounds, it all comes together in a reasonably traditional manner.  Even the longest, most crashing piece - the nearly fourteen minute title track - is made melodic by repeated vocal choruses and a chord background buried deep in the sheet metal rattling and industrial percussion.  "Ein Seltener Vogel", on the other hand, is a quiet, nine minute tune with a convincing, intense vocal part - it is only in the last two minutes that the track builds to a powerful climax, overdriven guitars and all.  "Youme & Meyou", meanwhile, is this album's "Sabrina" - rich in melody and boasting a sharp, defining verse and chorus.

Overall, Perpetuum Mobile may disappoint fans still accustomed to Einstürzende Neubauten's early works, but will likely be well suited to those who dug Silence Is Sexy.  Though I would say this full-length is slightly more industrial and noisy than its predecessor, it still adheres to the same calm values.  But when regarded without any reference to their previous recordings or their fans' expectations, this album sees Einstürzende Neubauten purveying what can only be considered unconventional brilliance.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 12 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2004]