Wednesday 11 March 2015

Review: En Esch – 'Spänk!'


It is hard to believe that thirty years into his career as one of the most recognisable names in industrial music, that En Esch is only on solo album number two. With fifteen years service with KMFDM, as well as tenures in Pigface, Slick Idiot and recent collaborations with Mona Mur, the German multi-instrumentalist only dropped his, until now, one and only solo offering back in 1993 in the form of 'Cheesy'. It may be a little overdue but En Esch's body of work speaks for itself with fans successfully funding a Pledgemusic campaign to make this album happen. And their faith is definitely repaid.

Kicking off with a stomping single in the form of '12345', which sees him collaborate with former band-mate and Ex Marilyn Manson member Tim Skold, he sets the album up to be a strong mix of heavy guitars and catchy electronics that recalls the heyday of the 90s Wax Trax! Scene of which he was instrumental.

Songs such as 'Give The People What They Want', 'Do Me', 'We Love To Hate', 'No Guts No Glory', 'Ich Bin Ein Berliner', 'Spaenk' and 'This Party Ain't Over' cover everything from dance-friendly electro-industrial, through to hard and heavy NDH. He even throws in a curve ball with the annoyingly addictive and demented 'I Hop'. The album presents a full cross-section of En Esch's strongest song-writing styles and some memorable collaborations with the likes of Guenter Schulz, Erica Dilanjian, MMTM .

The album doesn't throw up anything particularly different or controversial in its content compared to what we are used to from En Esch, and as such it feels instantly familiar. But at the same time when you consider the number of artists he has collaborated with over the years, there isn't a style he hasn't touched on at some point and has made its way into this album.

The album does have one or two points that need raising. Firstly is some of the intros to the songs, particularly in the first half of the album can be a little weak in places and repetitive. And secondly, it is a long album – the full 80 minutes on a CD. Now personally I think this is great when a lot of artists struggle to give you an hour of music, but in the digital age it may be too much for some people's attention spans.

At the end of the day though, 'Spänk!' Is everything we hoped it would be. It is a well written, diverse and well produced album that shows off the full extent of En Esch's skills and experience as a songwriter. Hopefully we wont have to wait twenty years for solo album number three!

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