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Symptome und Beschwerden

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Album Review

If this German outfit's moniker and album title (which translates to "symptoms and ailments") is meant to imply an extreme degree of infectiousness, they're right on the money. On their second album, Herpes seems to be all about honoring the legacy of the late-‘70s and early-‘80s post-punk era, particularly as represented at that time in their homeland by the NDW (Neu Deutsche Welle) movement via Palais Schaumburg, Fehlfarben (with whom Herpes has toured), der Plan, et al. Like those bands, Herpes favors tightly constricted tunes full of angular, barbed-wire guitar riffs, strategically placed, rhythm-pushing keyboards, and the kind of relentless, herky-jerky grooves that could probably induce fits in listeners prone to epilepsy. The harsh, cutting consonants of the German language have always seemed tailor-made for this sort of sound, of course, and that remains true here. While it's unlikely that these songs would feel significantly less manic if they were sung in English, the German lyrics do lend that extra bit of edge to the proceedings. And even though such cuts as the closing track, "Verflucht," owe a lot to the Anglo art-punk sounds of Wire, and others aim for Fall territory, there's a distinctly Teutonic spin to Symptome und Beschwerden that goes beyond just the language of the lyrics. There's also careful attention paid to economy at all times: not a single riff or rhythm is wasted, and despite consisting of ten seemingly full-length songs, the album clocks in at under half-an-hour. Punk and precision might not make such strange bedfellows, after all. ~ J. Allen, Rovi

Symptome und Beschwerden, Herpes
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