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Mini CD Review: Wolfsheim, Spectators

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What a shame it is that, in an age where unrecognizable, bland pop music rules the airways, original, brilliant music does not get the airplay it deserves. Thankfully, Wolfsheim’s remarkable album, Spectators, is available domestically (previously only as an import).

Peter Heppner and Markus Reinhardt are Wolfsheim, with Peter on vocals and Markus on instruments. Until recently they’ve not had much of a presence in the United States, with just a song or two (“The Sparrows and the Nightingale”) being played in dance clubs. Essentially, they’re known more by word of mouth than anything else in the U.S. The duo hails from Germany.

Specators features a rich, haunting sonic tapestry with an emotional impact. Comparisons to other bands are inevitable (such as Depeche Mode) but essentially useless.

Spectators opens with “It’s Hurting For the First Time,” a song that begins with a simple synth line paired with a melodic chanting vocal before launching into a symphony of music. It’s an amazing start to an amazing, complex album.

For the new listener, any song on Specators is a great start, but “Once In a Lifetime” really stands out. Musically upbeat, the lyrics belie a darker undertone. In fact, many of the songs on Spectators present this musical paradox, which creates a very real experience for the listener.

Other standouts include “Touch,” “Blind,” the emotional “For You” and “I Read The Lines,” and the dance club hit “Heroin, She Said.”

Wolfsheim have been recording amazing synth-pop for over a decade. It’s a rich musical legacy that until recently has not been heard often in the United States. The band now has an American distributor, and it shouldn’t be long before the back catalog is released domestically. If you are a fan of synth-pop, give Wolfsheim a listen. A must have for any musical library.

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