Album Reviews

Einstürzende Neubauten: ALLES IN ALLEM – “Slow-motion psychedelia”

The German noise odyssey return with their first new music in thirteen years.

Having witnessed Einstürzende Neubauten‘s appearance at 2013’s Melbourne’s All Tomorrow’s Parties festival, seven years on and it’s no surprise that the band have arrived at such a point with ALLES IN ALLEM.

After a thirteen year absence of new material, the deranged industrial sonic terrorism of ‘Neubauten‘s earlier years makes way for supple and spaciously arranged songs and the results are simply frightening.

ALLES IN ALLEM is ‘Neubauten at their most accessible. Many skins have been shed, with frontman and former Bad Seed, Blixa Bargeld projecting himself into newfound limelight as some otherworldly space crooner. Bargeld‘s lyrics – once translated into English – are patently abstract, constantly searching for answers that remain forever hidden, further epitomising ‘Neubauten‘s fey obscurity.

Textually, ALLES IN ALLEM is delicate and incandescently beautiful. Could you ever describe an Einstürzende Neubauten album as beautiful? The band have added that feature into their already expansive repertoire of sound.

The German powerhouse has never been shackled by genres or coerced down pigeonholes, unremittingly playing by their own rules and, quite literally, sculpturing sounds with different tools.

The hallway-stalking synths during the opening track, Ten Grand Goldie, could be best served in an ’80s horror film. It’s not overly aggressive, though. There’s suspense like you’re edging closer to a trapdoor.

Einstürzende Neubauten - ALLES IN ALLEM

The soft glacial qualities on tracks such as Möbliertes Lied and Grazer Damm are evident, despite the faint metal-on-bone instrumentation sounding like conceptions from an abandoned abattoir. Speaking of, Zivilisatorisches Missgeschick probably was, for it is hands down the most abrasive portion from the album and the only real flicker of ‘Neubauten‘s past.

The new voyage continues with Seven Screws, a track with a rich orchestral backcloth that could have been a German version of an early Bad Seeds cut.

Then there’s the title track. An ambient folk paean where ‘Neubauten could be mistaken as a backing band at some faux-Michelin star restaurant.

Wedding is a deconstruction of the classic ‘Neubauten template, stripped to the bare bones and replaced with haunting build-ups and a syncopated sprawl one would associate with the likes of Labradford.

The closing track in Tempelhof completes the minimalistic inventiveness on ALLES IN ALLEM. An album that sees ‘Neubauten growing old gracefully, immersing themselves in slow-motion psychedelia and slow-core-inspired serenades.

One often associates such occurrences as contentment, but that’s not the way ‘Neubauten function. If it were, then they would have halted long ago.

Whilst they’ve spent the majority of their career scraping instruments against the concrete walls of a distorted universe, with ALLES IN ALLEM Einstürzende Neubauten produce an ambient-laden soundtrack as they finally emerge from this murky labyrinth into a new world.

ALLES IN ALLEM is available now via Potomak.

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

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