Music Reviews
Tromatic Reflexxions

Von Sudenfed Tromatic Reflexxions

(Domino) Rating - 8/10

Please leave any jokes about over the counter decongestants at the door. This album deserves better. Much better.

On paper Von Südenfed sounds like a terrible idea. The ultimate unlikely trio, the group consists of Mouse on Mars's Jan St Werner and Andi Toma who supply crisp Germanic beats and The Fall's Mark E. Smith who contributes his characteristically deranged vocals and general presence to the project. And it works for the most part.

I've already written about Fledermaus Can't Get It in the singles section. Rather briefly and unimaginatively as it turns out. I gave it seven and thought to myself "yeah, it sounds fun, but I wouldn't enjoy a whole album of this". Thankfully the musicians behind Von Südenfed are not in the game of repeating themselves.

The Rhinohead is simply the best tune I've heard this summer. It's refreshing, invigorating and quite clearly purpose built for the dancefloor. Smith is reinvented here as a fun-loving, tuneful vocalist but any fears that he's losing his edge are quickly allayed on Flooded - a twisted revenge story set in a nightclub - as Smith spews venom ("The other DJ needed a goddamn rubber sheet because he pissed the fucking bed").

The rest of the album is just as diverse. On Speech Contamination / German Fear of Osterreich Smith tries his hand at German over a sparse, glitchy techno beat. It's a repetitive slow-burner worth sticking with for the frantic final 30 seconds alone. The vocoder comes out to play on The Young and the Faceless and the Codes which features a livelier rhythm and squelchy synth sounds. Chicken Yiamas features bluesy acoustic guitars and an almost rockabilly feel. I imagine Jbak Lois Lane is the kind of answerphone message Smith's friends receive on a fairly frequent basis.

The summery, semi-drunken cabaret of Dear Dead Friends provides Tromatic Reflexxions with a pleasant yet somewhat bizarre finale but perhaps after spending forty five minutes with Von Südenfed I shouldn't really be too surprised by anything from this unconventional trio. Ambitious, varied and unquestionably fun, this is one of the most joyously unpredictable records of the year.