‘That Much I Didn’t Want To Know’ kicks in with a scalpel of a guitar, heavy fast drums, and a boiling energy which is positively rapacious. Most modern Goths’ hair would fall out on the spot as they tremble and rush for the nearest old lady to hide behind. ‘W-w-w-what is this noise?’ they would quiver. It’s what post-punk vigour brings to Goth sensibilities, and Zadera have a great vocalist in Conny, half- sass, half-drowsy. Great hair too, like a petrified world war one pilot, somehow. They bolt through the song, kicking up a storm of delirious dust. It’s catchy, with some gaseous bellowing backing vocals and as they turn into a quiet spell they also do that with purpose and powerful presence. Me impressed.
A cracking opening, but there’s fourteen songs on this, and you know what I said about some German vocalist handling English manages to sound like ranting maniacs? Not Conny, she has a tender, smooth side which is clearly natural, and can soar high over the slower songs like ‘Through The Pale Door’, where the guitar dominates as main instrument, but Conny remains the guide, which is what singers are there for, after all. It’s very Punky with a well-honed energy that takes time to acquire, but this is their debut album four years after they’ve formed, so they have pent-up ambition pouring into every song.
Even when the guitar/drums pattern is fairly nondescript and the punky hammer-down old-fashioned, as with ‘Life Strikes Back’, which is Action Pact in all but name, the hyper-yelping vocals carry the day as the drums duck and dive, and in ‘No Answer’ they’re stomping and rolling furiously as they splinter and throw of angry sparks. This is Punk, pure and simple, with little flecks of guitar depth. ‘You Have Lost’ is more open and still racing along, but holds back enough for the vocals to display real charm, conveying pointed lyrics, and the guitars hover, going all bilious.
‘Circulation’ has a sweeter internal charm as the guitar beefs up and keeps jabbering, with sweeping bass curves filling out the sound while dual vocals act as mischievous horns of their attack. ‘Fallen’ gets you worried, with an acoustic intro and slow, meandering vocals, but they grow like a diseased plant and wobble about like spiky-haired triffids, which is more than acceptable. They go all morose and muted in ‘One More Life’ but the bass saves a fairly turgid song by keeping it humming rather than bumbling along, and ‘Das Licht’ is slower and weirder, drooping then floating, showing more of the post-Punk sense of doing whatever feels right, without some of the constraints Goth imposes.
‘Shame’ is another bounce, complete with sharp, pinching vocals and a playful stroll before a mad guitar-led caper. ‘Search For You’ starts a bit too clompy, and peculiar guitar sticks to the ceiling as the vocals look up and frown, but it soon settles into sour mid-paced froth with lots of guitar heaving around, and the fact they remind me of Nena isn’t an insult. Nena was certainly a bit soppy, but she also had some hard little songs. (Anyone who doesn’t realise this songs sound like Nena needs their head examined.)
‘Sie’ is an acoustic slowburner, which rings out proudly but a bit too soft, then ‘Grey And Red’ builds with slow bass and piercing high guitar, with a sparse sense of yearning before some fuming, snarling punk erupts! I love this sort of thing, but God knows what you’ll make of it. The way Conny yelps in high spirits, the way the guitars grumble and gyrate, the way the drums come hefting along and the bass is quick. Vibrant.
‘Only For Me’ is another hard, aggressive one, with some coy, then cocky singing, but I’d have ended with the previous track myself as that ends with the words “it’s over!” which would have been cute. In fact they have another track on there for you anyway, largely a guitar reprise of their evil largesse, and then they’re gone.
This album is lively, bolshy as fuck, and it’s good for you! Okay?