A horrible hack


Mit Schinken durch die Menopause

Year Released: 2015
Format: LP
Label: Beau Travail - Phantom
Reviewed by Alex Hannan on Oct 29, 2015
That squeaking noise you hear is my rusty German trying to get to grips with the slang and in-jokes of the debut PISSE LP, a brisk genital sandpapering of Dada-punk non sequiturs, aphorisms and provocation. Three broad lyrical types: gleefully puerile taunts, obliquely political rants, and oddball character sketches, across a scratchy, spindly synth-punk background. The exception being opener "Pumafrau," a remix of the 2013 track "Pumamann". Vocals here are provided by Miss Red, an MC whose opening lines lead the track away from a deconstructed DEVO-ish attack, and into a skeletal dancehall beat, all tinny snare, undulating synths and insistent kick drum.

That track aside the keyboards are deployed more as a irritant, as part of an insistent overall sound that can move from abrasive guitar miniatures through slurring sea shanties to re-wirings of melodic pop. The generally manic, vitriolic vocals draw attention away from some crafty songwriting. Here their ideas seem to have coalesced into more of a rounded musical identity than on the more scattershot 7" "Praktikum in der Karibik". They're like a more pissed off MENS RECOVERY PROJECT, or THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS on the third day of a speed bender, and they enjoy brisk contrast - "Pumafrau" leads straight into the guitar-led shouty punk of "Scheiss DDR" and from there to the oscillating drone of "Nervenheilanstadt", which gradually gathers the full band together. This is where the surrealist character sketch comes in. "Hallo Schwester / sch�ne Frisur / gutes Wetter heute / Ich trag keine Unterw�sche / Ich bin der sch�nste Mann in der Nervenheilanstalt" (Hallo Sister / nice haircut / good weather today / I'm not wearing any underwear / I'm the handsomest guy in the mental hospital.)

Their political songs have a similar oblique economy. Work-Life-Balance is a nerve-taut, neurotic blast about employment dystopia: "Ich zieh 'ne Line Crystal Meth / aus dem Arschloch von meinem Chef / Work-Life-Balance [...] Pr�sentkorb, Blumenstrauss / Burn out, Irrenhaus / Work-Life-Balance" (I snort a line of crystal meth / Out of my boss's arsehole / Work-Life-Balance [...] Gift hamper, bunch of flowers / burn out, madhouse / Work-Life-Balance). "Freiheit" is lyrically quite sharp, and the music seemingly written on the spot to fit the words. "Wir d�rfen Scheisse fressen / Freiheit heisst zu w�hlen / zwischen Ketchup oder Senf / L�ffel oder Gabel / und vielleicht ein Freigetr�nk." (We may eat shit / Freedom consists of choosing / between ketchup or mustard / Fork or spoon / maybe a free drink.)

They have a couple of more inward looking "scene" songs too. "Szeneprinz" takes on status and herd mentality: "Ich steh mit dem Szeneprinz / hier an der Bar / Ich hoff sein Glanz / f�rbt auf mich ab / Wir trinken Pfefferminzlik�r / und alle die Leute k�nnen uns sehn." (I'm with the scene-prince / here at the bar / I hope his glamour rubs off on me / We're drinking peppermint schnapps / and everyone can see us). This is allied to a sing-song synthpop backing, a hectic too-many-sherberts grimace, like a pop version of the �ber-pogo-punk absurdists that have been kicking around recently. Then there's "Biertitten", which seems to be some kind of anti-poseur song. "You're not Iggy Pop / just because you don't wear a t-shirt / You're not Michael Jackson / just because you go to the toilet backwards / You're not Lemmy / just because you buy a t-shirt / in Bautzen H&M / with Germanic lettering on / You're not queer / just because you have beer-tits." These and the one about someone being single because they stink ("Keine Freundin") are spiked with lyrical curveballs - "Du hast keine Freundin / Du hast keine Schuhe / Du hast keine Freundin / und keine Tiefk�hltruhe" (You have no girlfriend / You have no shoes / You have no girlfriend / And no deep-freezer) - I dunno, maybe it works better on record - but there's also a shade of cruelty in some of the dumb humour.

Overall, the music is focused, catchy and danceable. Perfect for smashing your face on the floor of a scuzzy Sternburg-swilling basement gig. On their website they include a review-review section where they take the piss out of stuff that has been written about them, so I look forward to hearing their verdict on my efforts.

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