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Neu ! - Neu! 2 CD (album) cover

NEU! 2

Neu !

 

Krautrock

2.95 | 132 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Kempokid
3 stars Neu!'s second album follows a lot of ideas from their debut album, and while that one is often regarded as the far superior one, I'd say that they're on equal footing. The issue with their debut was that while it had 2 absolutely amazing tracks, Hallogallo and Negativland, the other tracks, while clearly showing that they had some early post rock aesthetic in its minimalism, also ended up being remarkably dull. Neu! 2 is somewhat more playful, taking on slightly more of the proto punk element that was lightly touched upon.

The issue with the album that stops it from being truly great is its second half, which is equal parts amusing and obnoxious. Due to running out of time, money and ideas, Neu! ended up resorting to the bizarre tactic of simply reusing songs on varoius speeds using a turntable, playing around with the tempo and pitch. While this is indeed an interesting idea, it pretty clearly doesn't quite work, although these versions of the songs are still quite interesting, mostly the faster ones which evoke a lot of that proto punk sound, making Neuschnee 78 a fairly notable track. The slowed down songs are much less interesting, containing little energy or entertainment beyond the whole novelty of the idea. The regular versions of these are good enough however, definitely dynamic enough to remain interesting, and listening to these original ones after a couple of shifted iterations of them is definitely interesting. It's undoubtedly the first half of the album that makes this a worthwhile listen however, especially the opening track Fur Immer. This follows the same basic template as Hallogallo from their debut, except I enjoy this one slightly more. While both revolve around the motorik beat, the sound is much more full in Fur Immer, much more depth to the track overall. Despite the very repetitive nature of it, there's still a dynamic element at play, and while there are constant motifs running throughout, the song has a certain ebb and flow to it, gaining and losing intensity in a subtle enough way to maintain the incredible, hypnotic nature of the track, while also providing enough depth to be interesting to closely listen to. The next 2 tracks show an interesting direction for the band, incorporating some more energetic moments into the core, repetitive and minimalistic krautrock sound of the band, before diverting back into the surreal ambient qualities of their music. Lila Engel is undoubtedly my favourite song here outside of Fur Immer, being the one track on the album with some kind of vocal element to it, although I hesitate to call it singing. , it's more along the lines of making various noises with the mouth in a rhythmic fashion. What ends up happening is that it creates a uniquely trippy, psychedelic track that's an absolute joy to listen to, especially with the once again metronomic drumming at play.

Overall, despite there being a fairly sketchy side B to this album, the overall product is one that I enjoy far more than Neu!'s debut, as what it lacks in consistency, it makes up for it in playful experimentation and a clear sense of discipline in even the most surreal of moments. I would have loved it if the band didn't run out of more or less everything when recording this album, because I would have adored it is there was more material as downright great as the first 4 tracks and a couple of the ones on side B. A uniquely enjoyable album that I enjoy quite a bit despite its imperfections.

Best songs: Fur Immer, Lila Engel

Weakest songs: Cassetto, Super 78

Verdict: A very flawed album, but one that I've grown to enjoy quite a bit. It's a real shame that the second half drags this down so much.

Kempokid | 3/5 |

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