Review: Einstürzende Neubauten “Strategies Against Architecture IV, 2002 – 2010” (Boston Phoenix)

Posted on April 18, 2011


Double-disc IV brings us up date with everything these industrial grandpas have done since frontman Blixa Bargeld left Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds. There are certainly some nuggets here, and some choice live treats. But from the looks of it, this old building is more than ready to collapse. Originals are bound to get passed by imitators sooner or later, and Neubauten’s industrial Foley work has made them vulnerable on all fronts. Video games even caught up in the late ’90s with Trent’s Quake soundtrack. Robbed of ownership of the jarring klang and rusty atmospherics, EN are left with what once-pioneers often embarrassingly insist on as the next frontier: melody and songwriting. Busted Aphex Twin jitters make Bargeld’s cranky Bertolt Brecht aping on “Weil Weil Weil” a bit of quivering new life. But too often we get cheap laser-show chord swells and Blue Man Group pipe jamming under shaky lounge crooning. The raunchy bass and tribal drumming were a revelation 30 years ago, but whenever they pull that trick out at this point, it just sounds, well, like Tool. More interesting is when Blixa and kompany drop the pop-deconstruction act, as in the monolithic prison-creep nightmare of “Palast der Republik.” But mostly, this summary just proves that they don’t build ’em the way they used to.

Originally published in the Boston Phoenix here.