Einstürzende Neubauten
"The Jewels"

(Potomak 2008)Einstürzende Neubauten - The Jewels

If you're at all like me, then you could not afford to shell out the cash for one of Einstürzende Neubauten's several supporters' phases. The ingenious and intriguing members-only club allowed fans around the world to peep on the band at work via regular web casts and be involved, to varying degrees, in music that would only be released to the club. Or so we all thought.

The band has decided to release "The Jewels" for public consumption on their own Potomak label. Comprised of fifteen tracks that the band released on a monthly basis beginning in March of 2006, each "jewel" sprung out of the band's card game (dubbed "Dave") which provides each player with a different source of inspiration from which to draw. It's like charades -- only you are encouraged to make noise.

Each track is succinct and bite sized and there is certainly free form exploration but it is always ended before it becomes aimless wandering. The disjoined melody of "Epharisto" clangs like a Tom Waits track as the insistent rhythm of "26 Riesen" pounds over the track's echoing, repeating structure. "Hawcubite" is quirky and lighter while the thumping and scratching rhythm of "Am I Only Jesus?" leads into an unforgettable chorus.

What "Jewels" lacks in flow and planning it makes up for in originality and experimentation. Neubauten remain somewhat reserved, not pulling out all the stops to impress, but still delivering cohesive tracks. For fans, "The Jewels" is the equivalent of a rarities and B-sides collection, providing that sneak peek in when the band doesn't think you're watching. But in this case, they know.

B+

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