Review: Brand Neu – compilation

Thursday, 23 July, 2009

brand-neu-compilationI love the Quietus for having lots of balls, humor and character. In another well-written review the album “Brand Neu” is dismissed as “it becomes clear that the problem with it is (…) the fact that someone thought this album needed to exist in the first place”. Jimmy Martins (The Quietus) continues taking down most of the contributions. It does appear he’s accepting some of the songs to be good, but the context and the reference to be a big misunderstanding.

I did – nevertheless – buy the record. ‘Cause I’m one of those who wasn’t born as krautrock was at its best. I first came to know Neu after listening to post rock acts from Canada. Shame on me, or… So maybe this wasn’t a good album for Jimmy Martin, but I do like bands, which use and update the sound of Krautrock, and thereby gain a repetitive constellation, which is kind of a Bauhaus [architecture] version of psychedelics.

Buying this record doesn’t mean I got 14 new Neu songs. How could they have the same magical sound. As I see it Neu used repetition in a spiritual way, where most bands have difficulties just letting the pulse of the song continue unchanged. But to me there are both interesting and / or loyal pieces on this record.

Favorit track is “Titan Arum”. Foals has a math rock approach when using the guitars to build the texture. It gives a feeling of trance, but keeps having my attention on how it evolves. The song should have been 15 minutes instead of five. It’s also a B-side to ‘Red Socks Pugie’.
Holy Fuck gives it a go and history repeats itself. Nothing new or refreshing here, just pure motorik energy. Grrreat!
Kasabian are somehow at the same spot, but they ‘just’ made a high speed Britpop tune with a drum mashine sounding more like Primal Scream. Primal Scream that on the other hand contributes with the extraordinary “Shoot Speed / Kill Light” from the album XTRMNTR. Spot on.
Other mentionable tracks are Hook & The Twin “They’ll Get your head” and Pets with Pets “We only found this place” (originally from a magazine compilation).

I think Jimmy Martin never did ask the right question to himself, when he listened to the record. Is it a tribute to Neu or is it a representative of where the sound of Krautrock is today? Because Krautrock today is, as Jimmy Martin states, ‘cool’ and has got some attention lately.
At least I think this compilation choose an interesting perspective: instead of making coversongs of the Neu catalogue, the songs are all genuine pieces of the bands inspiration and love for the sound of Neu and the brand that has evolved around Krautrock. And this is actually the reason why I think I’m sitting with a compilation that succeeds. There are so many other compilations out there, where the songs have very little in common. These songs will as Jimmy Martins points out not have the same durability as Neu, but I think it’s a document to the continuous history of krautrock.