Band - Katzenjammer Kabarett
Title - Grand Guignol & Varietes
Label - Projekt
Format - CD
Genre - Darkwave
Katzenjammer Kabarett, a young French four-piece, returns with their second release - Grand-Guignol & Variétés- and a firmer pop approach mixing incredible stories and catchy melodic hooks. Be it deathrock, electro, punk or dark-cabaret, they are here to charm you, seduce you, and leave you merrily twitching to their infectious songs. About the musical style, perhaps the best is to guess it for yourself! Mary Komplikated's sultry vocals ride atop their Dadaesque, Avant-Garde blend of sounds: the din created by Herr Katz, Klischee and Mr. Guillotine.
On this follow-up to their 2006 debut (reissued on Projekt), Katzenjammer Kabarett (this French band with a German name and English lyrics) shows their sensibility for the diletante and frivolous aesthetic of several past movements. Their compositions revel in varied and various collages, utilizing electronic, pop, deathrock, and classical-music sounds as well as traditional cabaret songs to generate the peculiar atmosphere one probably found in old fashioned Lieder (the German art songs from the Nineteenth-century). A considerable part of their work comes from second-hand elements borrowed from several preceding movements and styles, but whose signs had been systematically altered and distorted. Thus, the music composed by Klischee, supported by H.K..'s lyrics and Mr. Guillotine's necessary pragmatism, creates an alchemy with the carefree Miss Mary K's voice and theatrical singing which embodies all the magic, the cynism and the absurdity of the hangover cabaret.
Katzenjammer Kabarett arrives at a furiously modern sound still colored with electronics but more baroque - it can speak to and charm anyone. Grand-Guignol & Variétés nevertheless devises an embroidery of unheard and original melodies. Fresh and more mature, the album offers a new serial of songs with efficient melodies, though often with complex structure (breaks, surprising beats, dissonances), and strange lyrics tinted with cruel and absurd realism merrily sung. No longer are we mere listeners as Katzenjammer Kabarett carries us to their weird universe. However Grand-Guignol & Variétés is not a rejection of reality but rather transforms it into new dimensions by introducing non-mimetic, non-realistic artful constructions instead of faithful imitation, by the use of ironic distancing, by denying emotional identification and by portraying contrast (for example in "Hidden & Sick," Little Henry's tragic end in contrast to the music).
Elegant as the KK members themselves, the lyrics on Grand-Guignol & Variétés are a juxtaposition of concepts. The band explains, "The stories we tell deal with a main character who is, we think, always a kind of artist, someone with a different vision of the world, and sometimes, the will to make his surrounding look like his fantasy or the way he thinks things should be. This main character is placed in conflict with secondary ones in order to confront his point of view. From the clashing of these individualities always comes the absurdity of their behavior; be they pushed by sexual frenzy (like in "Romance"), by snobish mockery (as in "Sunlight sanatorium"), jealousy (as in "Collage"), incapacity to make a decision (as in "10 years"), unconditional and even masochisitic love ("a Real Gentleman") or blinded by an artistic vision ("Percy has returned"). The result of their desires, fears or what-have-you is always absurd. That said, the stories have to be kept away from psychology, though we can not deny the characters all have a distorted brain, it is not what interests us. We could not write about the feelings of such or such character, his motivations, about his being different, his loneliness etc. Who cares? What interests us is to create the situations in which they can be shown as they are at their best."
Price - 125 SEK / €13,2
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