[our noise cover jpg]

herrmann and kleine - "our noise"

the convolution of idm and indie rawk (blame isan), one of the happiest developments in recent years, has progressed beyond tentative, merely dilettantish exploration and is a now nascent genre in its own right, with its own exemplars: console, manual, the notwist, the boylucas and - of particular interest here - herrmann and kleine. their first proper full-length, our noise, arrives with louder buzz than its authors (a pair of low key, unfailingly nice german cats) could ever have expected or wanted. the hyperbole's not without merit - their affecting transalpin twelve-inch and insanely great kickboard girl EP have gotten steady play here for a couple of years. while similar acts were discovered/jumped on the bandwagon and ulrich schnauss' accomplished far away trains... seemed to take the kickboard girl to the end of the line, anticipation for the endlessly deferred full length mounted. they dropped teasers: simple, decidedly unelectronic cover art (i love the artwork), an evocative title (let it roll around in your head for awhile)... it sounded too good to be true. i suppose it was.

drop is a textbook killer opening track, moody and subtle, with suspended guitar chords (!) and harmonics (!!) accenting bells and bowed glass choirs over a sweet, sweet beat. achingly cool. following are three kickboard girl retreads, and my attention starts to wane. it occurs to me that our noise is probably h&k's music has the right to children, a survey of the last couple of years' ambitions, seamlessly shaped into album form (the whimsical still tired segues effortlessly into the shuttle's brooding cinematica, which is followed sensibly by a surprising cover of blue flower that sounds more like the pixies (!!!) than mazzy star).

the careful sequencing of our noise can't hide the schizophrenic clash of "art" (whatever that is) and whimsy one finds in most truffaut films. the less adventurous songs aren't as breathless and eye-opening as the aptly-titled wonder, but are at least as good as they are familiar; like most of kickboard girl, they could have been commissioned for chrysler, maxwell house and progressive auto insurance commercials. as closing number and transalpin throwback don't look back fades from view like a slowly receding train station, you don't know if you should feel elated or mildly disappointed. if you're lucky, the cd repeats and you're listening to those opening chords of drop again.

it's sure to coast into my top twelve this year, but still, our noise could have been so much more. let's hope herrmann and kleine heed the last song's advice, because a more adventurous follow-up will be killer.

for more information, please visit kickboard girl.