An album title with not one, but two exclamation marks, meaning something akin to “what a palaver”as it primes the listener for songs like “Cinemascope”. Themes such as personal injuries (“Ich bin cool”), betrayal (“Mes copines”), personality deficiencies brought on by drug abuse (“Methedrine”), rage (“Hass-Satellit”), inflated opinions of oneself (“Brezel says”), suicide (“Le Spleen”), grief (“Dancing with a memory") and souls in torment ("Elektroschocktherapie") are presented in widescreen format in and often in the most entertaining fashion.
Françoise Cactus apparently once said of herself: "I am a linguistic artist who can live with the laughs". Which says it all really, although Stereo Total’s penchant for wordplay is not in evidence in all of the lyrics on this record. Many tracks here echo the rather more sombre, desperate songs she wrote for her first band "Les Lolitas". Nevertheless, the anarchic humour which we have come to associate with Stereo Total resurfaces on compositions like "Keine Musik" and "Einfach".
Musically, this Stereo Total disc, their twelfth, cannot be readily aligned with anything at all. If earlier albums resonated with influences from chanson, trash or disco to punk, rock’n’roll and NDW (German New Wave), Stereo Total have now arrived in their very own musical universe which pays no heed to stylistic devices, reminiscent of “rien de tout”. What we can say: Françoise Cactus excels in the art of 8-track cassette recording, thus creating an extraordinary sonic experience. Brezel Göring draws on his favoured array of instruments more likely to be found in the hands of children in households where a musical education is not on the agenda: plastic baby organ and dreadful mouse piano, accompanied by home-made guitars glued together by less than gifted artisans.
1. Stereo Total continue to make electronic music with flea market Casio sounds which fly in the face of what is generally accepted to be electronic music. Each musical instrument could probably be translated into social coordinates and in this sense, the tools of Stereo Total’s trade speak an unequivocal language.
2. Stereo Total continue to play LoFi garage rock music which makes a mockery of all the masculine clichés associated with guitars. When Françoise Cactus plays the drums, the rhythms of feminism, anti-professionalism and subversive dilettantism come to the fore.
Any attempts to pigeonhole Stereo Total are destined to fail. In the words of Flann O'Brien: "When shall we ever see their like again?"
A word to our younger readers: Stereo Total began making music before the internet existed, before the Euro, before Germany reunited and before there were even bands or music. They will probably still be playing when all that has been consigned to the dustbin of history. The group comprises Françoise Cactus, who spends her time as a radio presenter, author and artist between band sessions, and Brezel Göring, a man whose very choice of stage name was motivated by a desire not to be taken seriously by music and art scribes.
When they began making music together, they made it their mission to disrupt rules, to destabilize ideas. They may not have thrown European harmonic structure or 4/4 time out of the window, but they have certainly asked questions of every other aspect of musical and lyrical techniques. Lines like "you look good from the back", "love as a threesome", "I am naked", "I’m the young gigolo with a smoker’s lung " and "sex complex" are designed to repel serious music lovers whilst shocking them with sound engineering which falls well below the standards of mainstream listeners.
02) Ich bin cool
03) Mes copines
06) Die Dachkatze
07) My Idol
09) Brezel says
10) Le Spleen
11) Sur un fil
12) Dancing with a Memory
13) Keine Musik