Album reviews

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A review of the album Stay Fresh, Ey by Fnessnej

fnessnejReview Snapshot: A compelling collage of sounds from a German five-piece whose name is almost impossible to pronounce. Part chip-tune, part post-rock, Stay Fresh, Ey is a playful album that offers new delights on each listen.

The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10

Full Review:
Some song titles aren't made for memory. '1360280' is a fine example of this. But then when the artist's name appears equally scrambled, it all starts to make sense. Whisking together seemingly incongruent flavours is a speciality of Fnessnej. The quintet's music is self-described on their website as 'instrumental postkutsche rocknroll elektroge frikkelballer post blahabblaha'. Quite the mouthful.

Fnessnej are masters of blending bleeps and ticks, rock riffs, synth sounds and syncopated drumming on a rich palate of musical fervour. The album's first track 'Duplex Knaller' begins playfully, with four short clownlike notes and moves towards a mood reminiscent of Metronomy. There's bass, handclaps and a childlike melody on xylophone. What's not to love?

We move into richer territory with the sweet tapestry that is 'Voll im Harras', which could have accompanied an early PC game like Pango or Frogger. There are deeper mute bass sections and the tune moves into more grown up territory in its second half. Succinct, organic, and without the awkward stages of adolescence, this is a track to be treasured.

Further treats are in store with the dulcet acoustic nylon tones of 'Mann aus Frau' and the journey of 'Gewehrwolfgang,' which samples classical, post-rock and 1950s high school romance. And if you thought ping pong was just a bizarre sport or one of the first computer games, think again. In 'Diode' it becomes a genius melody that takes the game through bouncing and beeping heights.

Fnessnej might not roll off the tongue in a recommendation to friends - but the tracks themselves are catchy, musically complex, and make offerings worthy to all genres. So far I have been recommended this album by one other - and I have yet to meet another who knows of this little treasure. German, random, and rich, this 2008 album has been a favourite of mine for the past few months.

Niamh Madden


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