published: 27 /
Offbeat and quirky lo-fi new wave on eclectic latest album from Paris-Berlin duo Stereo Total
Stereo Total nearly count as a trilingual duo; singing in French, German and in simple English. They have also released several songs sung in Spanish. Brezel, he's from Berlin and Cactus, she's from Paris yet this doesn't necessarily mean each sings in his or her native tongue. They have been an unmarried, happy, loving couple for close to thirty years, who continue to to make unsettling music, aided by poignant charm. Their latest album works like a moving picture. A fine sequence of songs with a story line that becomes detectable after several spins, it too features outtakes that can only be explained once you've caught the drift of their inimitable stance. "Nine days a week, we were so so high."
On first listen, to the un-experienced Stereo Total ear, it must sound like a messy party. To the experienced ear, the album comes as a welcome change. Matured if you must, 'Mes Copines' - my friends - doesn't come as a reconciliation, moreover a recapitulation of their friends' weaknesses and faults. Tongue-in-cheek mentions of drug abuse set aside, 'Mes Copines' sets the tone with its apt descriptions of a life amongst friends in zany Berlin. And perhaps beyond.
The ode to film promised in the album title, follows on the outstandingly catchy 'Cinemascope', which has one of the most accomplished arrangements for a tune by Stereo Total until now - who have been recording artists since 1993. There is Babylonian confusion in the words more than once: "Du redest from deine Position. Ich die wahre Evolution. It's true! Cinemascope, das Leben im Bett. Träume non-stop. Qui ne parlent à même" is followed by "Cinemascope ist das beste Format," which builds a wonderful stream of unconsciousness, typical of conversations one might overhear today in a cafe in a twisting, wild multi-national big city. One would be very unlikely to come across elsewhere Sixties punk pop performed with this amount of disdain.
The cat on the hot tin roof, 'Die Dachkatze' probably gives away their, or her, true nature. This is a prancing song in the best tradition of dreamy doowop garage punkpop, but Stereo Total don't stop here. "You invite me in to your apartment, which you've inherited from your posh parents, and with pearly diamonds, I say 'Merci' and then I slip out."
No worry should you fail to understand It's not as if you've wasted your chance to hear the new James Joyce. The flow of words does deliver insights such as on 'Hate Satellite' - 'I'm doing my lonely rounds in Orbit. Often I collide with other space scrap circling above the world. I send the same news, obsessively again and again. Hate Satellite, I am a Hate Satellite" - while at the same time Stereo Total play this wholly lovely lullaby.
Mentioned in praise on 'Methedrine' earlier on the album, Lou Reed is remembered a second time on 'Brezel Says' which basically is 'Caroline Says' revisited with personal memories added.
"Keine Boogie Woogie für dem Abendgebet" the penultimate message on 'Keine Musik' leads to the sleepy 'Elektroschocktherapie' closing the album. No boogie woogie in the evening prayer and electro shock therapy won't help you either. Thus sounds Stereo Total's graceful nihilism. "Adieu. Traum gut."
Ich bin cool
Sur un fil
Dancing with a Memory