Berlin solitude – “secret” (state law)
“I’m going to change – someday,” Tobias Bamburschke sings murderously in “Enfant terrible.” The alteration is already underway on the accompanying studio album for Isolation Berlin. It took Max Bauer, David Specht, Simon Koster and Tobias Bamburschke three years to write The Secret. Not only is the pandemic to blame for the long interlude, but there’s also a lot of action audible in the new songs: they’re more focused, more well-composed and, above all, more diverse than anything the band has known before. Overall, Mystery is an album that tells emotionally charged stories, but is keen to get to the heart of the matter. You won’t find minute-long guitar notes or uncontrollable emotional outbursts here.
This might be a drawback with a band like Isolation Berlin, after all so far they’ve managed to scream unparalleled emotion and blunder at Weltschmerz. However, just getting started shows that the new level of control is a positive development. The totally acoustic opening “In the end, you just don’t count” is extraordinarily cute and downright friendly. And even if the next “terrible kid” lyrically returns to the well-known terrain (abandoned + alcohol), folk devices do not remind you that Isolation Berlin was once classified as “post-punk”. The song sounds much more as if the Viennese monastery Nino had managed to get rid of the humiliation of Viennese.
Self-pity and self-reflection
In the subsequent cycle, electric guitars return. However, the volume remains low and only comes into play in certain places. This leads to some poppy moments and blends light with the generally gloomy mood. This way the band gets a surprisingly light fit. One of the highlights of the bold single is “(I wanna be like) Nina HagenHere the catchy, but not simple, melody fuses with Tobias Bamborschke’s sense of humor. If earlier texts with adaptive rhymes have raised their eyebrows, he manages to create a small monument to Nina Hagen with just a few words. In addition to admiration in the song, there is Also a frustration of not being brave and free like Nina Hagen.At some point, you don’t even need a coherent text to convey this: When Tobias Bamborschke gets into the nonsense line “A UFO and a Boy” borrowed from Hagen and screams, it has depth and humor at the same time.
Humor in general is one of the elements that distinguishes “Secret” from the band’s previous albums. Song heroes are still in existential crises or are alienated from the world; Due to the sometimes exaggerated nature of the singing, some things get defused and it becomes clear that Bamborschke is more of a narrator than a hero. With all that self-pity, he manages to build in moments of self-reflection over and over again. That’s not to say the songs will be any less emotional as a result: “Klage einer Sünderin,” for example, slowly ramps up to a very large gesture and sets a counterpoint to the otherwise low sound with its piano-dominated echo ending.
The phrase “from someone who sits here sharpening my pencils,” which also works to build tension and constantly enriches it with threads, leads to emotional shallowness without a false bottom. The graphic text about recurring fears and the resulting despair is rendered so intensely that it is downright oppressive. The following, who sang somewhat apart, “Enfant Perdu” also slightly alters the lackluster vibe being released from the album. The “Secret” appears light at times, but isolated Berlin in general remains unruly and goes against expectations – say, a happy ending. Happiness!
Release: October 8, 2021
Label: state law
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