Unhappybirthday - Mondchateau

  by Dave Goodwin

published: 6 / 10 / 2020

Unhappybirthday - Mondchateau

Label: Tapete Records
Format: CD
Fine 80’s-influenced synth pop on fourth album from German electronic trio Unhappybirthday


By way of the lovely people at Tapete Records in Hamburg, Germany comes the fourth full-length offering and the second on this label from Unhappybirthday. ‘Mondchateau ‘arrives at a time when the cake is decorated, and the cards are falling through the 80’s drenched letterbox for this band’s eighth birthday. The German trio have created a funkier thicker sound than all their three previous albums. Whilst still hanging on to the youthfulness of the last they have taken a step into adulthood it seems. They have grown up a little bit. Whether that is a good thing or a bad is hard to tell, but it seems to work for them here. Yep, it is a trip back to the ‘80s for sure but a fuller-sounding 1980s when the likes of Duran and Spandau Ballet ruled the earth, rather than the sparser sounding Depeche Mode or Yazoo. Just for good measure it’s all wrapped up with tinges of Trio or Falco. Their sound is fashioned from Diana Kims’ moody bass lines, Tobias Rutkowski’s guitar and complimented by the tampering of Daniel Jahn’s SQ1. ‘Margo ‘, the opening track, sounds more like a ‘Rage in Eden’ track than the second number ‘Crystal’, which is a ‘Penthouse and Pavement’ soundalike. ‘Station’, the third track, however, starts like a full on Tears for Fears number. They aren’t afraid to meddle with an instrumental as ‘Burgund’ shows and they quite freely dabble in the groove chilled Balearic vibe of ‘Mondpalais’. ‘Plaza’ lends itself to a slower tempo and reminds me of Ultravox’s ‘Lament’ period. To be brutally honest, the more you listen to this the better it gets. On first listen I was unmoved. By the third or fourth I was smitten. ‘Dunster’, the last track on the album, goes in another direction still, and is a cross between John Foxx and Kraftwerk laced with that Balearic vibe that runs through the halls and turrets of ‘Mondchateau’. Unhappybirthday’s ongoing relationship with Berlin producer Jonas Meyer continues to mould and shape the Unhappybirthday sound, while guest vocals come from the indie pop icon Andreas Dorau and label-mate Sebastian Lee Phillip which just adds to the sonic wonderment that is ‘Mondchateau’.

Track Listing:-

1 Margo
2 Cristal
3 Station
4 Delon
5 Burgund
6 Saison
7 Mondpalais
8 Plaza
9 Dunster

Label Links:-


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