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Etwas Benutzen

Couch

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Album Review

Recorded before Bohm had joined the group, Etwas Benutzen finds the quartet — Andreas Lang also contributes drums — recording a fair debut for the Kitty-Yo label. For all the neo-Krautrock comparisons, understandable enough via geographical association, it's more accurate to describe Couch in terms of Slint. Like similarly instrumental-focused groups such as Mogwai, Couch takes a certain inspiration from the near-legendary Louisville collective and applies it to their own work, both in sound and in recording style. While the band and co-producer Mario Thaler aren't the second coming of Steve Albini, there's a similar emphasis on full-bodied drum recording, forceful bass, and mostly clean guitar lines. The end results, though not as groundbreaking as some label apologists would have it, are more than satisfying, bringing out the nervous, crisp energy and often surprising beauty of the Slint sound in duly appreciable ways. "Acht" demonstrates how Couch makes it all work: Soder's initial, repetitive guitar figure, low and brooding, sets the tone for almost two minutes before the full band suddenly kicks into a start-stop chug, a smart, quietly varying tradeoff worked throughout the rest of the song. The third track, "Kurze Farbe," shows Couch achieving its own results for the first time on Etwas. Soder's strong guitar work, an endless wave upwards, finds equal matching in the Heilrath/Geltinger rhythm smack, the total sounding like a politer version of Drive Like Jehu's similarly paced surge skywards. Other striking songs include the half-gentle, half-threatening chime and thump of "Limmer," with some excellent work by Heilrath, and "Kopf in Wetter," featuring downright spooky percussion from Geltinger, hollow beats like a nervous tic in the background. Again, none of it can be called truly unique, but it's more than fine listening for anyone that's run their copy of Spiderland into the ground.

Biography

Formed: 1993 in Munich, Germany

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s

Munich experimental rock group Couch consists of keyboardist Stefanie Böhm, guitarist Jürgen Söder, bassist Michael Heilrath, and drummer Thomas Geltinger. The group formed in 1993 and found inspiration in classic Krautrock groups as well as more current artists such as Slint and Stereolab. Their untitled 1995 debut was a vinyl-only release. Their 1997 release, Etwas Benutzen, was also their debut for Kitty-Yo, which is also the home of To Rococco Rot, Tarwater, Surrogat, and Laub. Two years later,...
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Etwas Benutzen, Couch
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