BLIND TASTE TEST: Klauss Johann Grobe – Im Sinne der Zeit

OK James. I have no idea how or where this band got added to my music library, but these Swiss- German indie boys fill me with pep. The lyrics are predominantly in German and I don’t speak German. Despite that their groovy bass lines, sharp but floaty organs and precise beats always carry me through. During the album they sway from urgent poppy indie dance songs to synth-laden lounge songs, all while maintaining a playful charm.

I feel like this album has the chance to tick many boxes for you. Or you’ll find it really irritating. Fingers crossed it’s the first option. Enjoy. 

Matt

Thanks Matt. So when I hear a German sounding name, my immediate thought would be electronica of some sort, probably techno. Because most of (all?) the best German music is exactly that. This is reassuring to me. But having read your description this could now be anything from The Rapture (good) to Mika (please no). I’d better click play and find out.

A few seconds in and I can already tell we’re on safe ground i.e. not Mika. The drums and bass at the intro of ‘Between the Buttons’ are straight out of the dance-punk textbook. Then comes some staccato organ which takes me by surprise. It’s not quite going where I thought, it’s more chilled out. And I think some of the lyrics are in English here. The rest of the singing doesn’t stand out on this track so I’m happy to go with the sound without knowing what’s actually being said. It’s a solid start but I’m not blown away yet.

The organ is back on ‘Kothek’ and it seems like this band have got their sound pretty nailed down: drums, bass, organ, vocals. I’m interested to see if this changes at any point or if they’re going to stick with it through the album. The organ brings a psychedelic or even prog rock element to their sound which does mix things up from a traditional indie guitar band set up. I’m just not sure yet if I can put up with it for the whole album.

‘Wir Zwei’ is next. The bassline here, as with the previous tracks, is really reminding me of New Young Pony Club (yes there I go shoehorning them into everything I write again), a band I know we have a shared appreciation for. Maybe that’s why you like them? The organ is starting to put me off though. The bass pulls me in one direction – a fun one – then the organ feels like it’s holding me back with some sort of weird 60s lounge thing. Should I be dancing, or sitting down with a cigar and a brandy? I do appreciate how they’re doing something different though.

You say you’re not sure how this ended up in your playlists. Did Spotify recommend it to you? Maybe you’d been listening to Metronomy’s ‘The Look’ quite a lot and then KJG’s ‘Les Grecks’ followed. Because it sounds EXACTLY THE SAME. Seriously. It’s borderline embarrassing. Joseph Mount should have words. It’s possible their sound on this album is based entirely on this one Metronomy song. 

‘Koffer’ is a pretty standard mid-album lull track. I’ve not much to say about it. The slower tempo continues with ‘Schlaufen Der Zukunft’ and they’ve gone full lounge here. I can see this backing some footage of Twiggy in big sunglasses, posing in the sun outside some cosmopolitan cafe somewhere in Europe in the mid 1960s. Distracted by my own imaginings, I forget that the album has moved on to ‘Aufstand’. Again I’m getting strong New Young Pony Club vibes, particularly their second album.

I wondered earlier about whether their sound would change much. It’s taken until track eight (of nine) for something unexpected to happen in the instrumentation, with a tiny bit of extra percussion. It’s well timed as the album needed livening up at this point. I was really feeling it start to dip. Sadly it keeps dipping. I always feel an album needs a strong finish, to go out on a high. Im Sinne Der Zeit does not do this.

It’s very obvious to me why you like this album and I’d guess that the similar aspects of it have stood out to both of us. For me though I’d rather listen to the bands that seem to have influenced those aspects than to explore this band any further.

Words by James Spearing and Matt Paul

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