NEBEL 3000

Frankenstein Freakout

Punk rock energy, madcap samples and a delirious eclecticism blur the lines between trashy and arty, finds Hayley Scott

The sound of existential angst, Berlin-based post-everything group NEBEL 3000 are fearlessly slapdash in their approach to noise. Frankenstein Freakout is all over the place, sharing subtle similarities with everything from Genesis P Orridge (‘Playmobile Metalhead’) and Laurie Anderson (‘In Between’) to Klaus Dinger on Neu! ‘75 (‘Interrupted’) as vocal echoes clash with pound shop synthesizers containing the depths of DAF, and more focussed electronics reminiscent of Exploded View. It’s the sonic equivalent of a nervous breakdown, redressed only by the glimmer of hope concocted by a melodic impulse occasionally filtering through the commotion.

The tri-lingual trio (lyrics here are sung in German, English and French) are inspired by the twisted world we live in, with lyrical themes ranging from dentist appointments and dark matter to bad sexual experiences and anti-capitalistic refrains. It’s oriented to queer politics and feminist issues as the band’s own fragilities and views of the world provide socio-political context. This isn’t immediately apparent from the words alone, which are anything but on the nose. It’s the harsh musicality that elicits the ebbs and flows, the turbulence of modern life. The guitar – often sounding like it’s being played with a knife – swings from Beat Happening amateurism to rapid ‘70s dexterity as songs fluctuate from bouncy to evil. It’s order and chaos in perfect harmony, in the same way The Country Teasers had a tenacity for adding random splashes of colour to a sonic palette indicative of the indignance toward the darker aspects of the human condition.

The oddball samples throughout blur the lines between trashy and artful, and stand-out moment ‘Interrupted’ is a synth punk expansion of The Monks’ cutting, chugging rhythms and distorted, wildly frantic organ. With its kosmische repetition, ‘No’ could be a Stereolab tune if they turned their hand at disorientating no wave. Channeling the spirit of a particularly stressed out Alan Vega, closer ‘Krankenhaus’ also matches the best of the Birthday Party live. Combining their eclectic influences into a thing of extraordinary pandemonium, NEBEL 3000 inhabit a new sonic space that’s as outrageously Germanic as it is wonderfully at odds with the safeness of Instagram indie, their pure punk spirit connecting through the playful energy, disco samples and lo-fi guitar, creating a fusion of avant-garde noise and disco punk indebted to queer influences. It’s all in the name: a freakout it is indeed, and a glorious one at that.

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