February 26, 2004

Test Spin: Einsturzende Neubauten

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Einsturzende Neubauten has been making noisy German industrial music for more than twenty years. With such a long career in music, they’re less likely to collapse new bridges, and more likely to sleep under them. I mean, do they really think they have a chance with Kate Hudson? Heartfelt choruses like “life on other planets is difficult” won’t make her want to give up her virginity.

But part of the appeal of Einsturzende Neubauten is in their otherworldliness. The instrumentals run the gamut from car tires to air compressors to plastic tubes. The fuzzy beats lend themselves to Mars and isolation; the haunting German sing/speak is reminiscent of Castlevania; the nihilistic menace compares favorably with other pyromaniacal German hitmakers.

However, Perpetuum Mobile is not pop by any means. Nor is it a vehicle of destruction (Perpetuum, maybe). Hack reviewers have graciously whispered about the record’s darkness and palpable tension. It’s less than that: it’s a video game … and when it’s over, you won’t be rocking back and forth in a corner somewhere, you’ll be thinking of how to get enough fiber in your diet to stay regular. Because you know what they say: healthy bowels are more valuable to a man than intelligence. And after twenty-four years in the business, Einsturzende Neubauten is a name you can trust.

Archived article by Walter Chen