In the Post #55: Apparatjik

By on Wednesday, 24th March 2010 at 12:00 pm

When I first heard about the band Apparatjik, I was intrigued on the mere basis of who the synth-pop super group consisted of: Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman, Magne Furuholmen of A-ha fame, Jonas Bjerre, lead singer for Danish band Mew, and producer Martin Terefe. Those individual names are enough to make anyone wonder what happens when all four talents collide.

My curiosities were pretty much satiated with this band’s debut album, “We Are Here.” After all, what you get is four talented musicians throwing oddball recipes in one large, communal mixing bowl and creating eleven peculiar tracks of wonder.

For example, the lyrics aren’t particularly depressing, and the music isn’t exactly dark, but track opener “Deadbeat” is just one of those songs that hold visions of broken concrete jungles rotting against desolate winter landscapes. This imagery comes from the song holding a heavy load of industrial licks which will carry you back to some deserted city in some nation in Eastern Europe. Give it a listen and you’ll know what I mean. Your ears will like it even if your eyes are against it.

More oddities will no doubt implode your head as you hear so-so singer Guy Berryman share singing tasks with distinct vocalist Jonas Bjerre. It’s an oxymoron, if you will, but it certainly works, especially for heavily synthesized and electronic-based track “Supersonic Sound.” It’s songs like this and “Antlers” which give the impression that Apparatjik is walking a similar experimental plank that U2 wobbled on with their “Passengers” album, albeit of course the added weirdness of Brian Eno. Still, this could be considered the little sibling of “Passengers” if you’re in the right frame of mind.

Maybe that’s what it takes with this album, the proper mood. Once you nail that certain disposition to sit down and listen, chances are you won’t regret it. And with standout track and first released single, “Electric Eye”, there’s also a significant chance you’ll sit up and take notice of the beautiful layers of sounds that slashes and cuts the melody in to a bleeding, infectious bliss.

The word “Apparatjik”, by the way, is allegedly of Russian origin and is used to describe “people who cause bureaucratic bottlenecks in otherwise efficient organizations”, which may cause you to ask, “What the hell does that mean?” The same could probably be said for this album, depending on your temperament. Whatever your take, it’s indeed worthy enough for more than one spin.

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[…] of A-ha fame, Jonas Bjerre, lead singer for Danish band Mew, and producer Martin Terefe that Emmy introduced us to a few months ago.They’ve just released a three track digital EP called ’4 Can Keep A Secret If 3 Of Them […]

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