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La Düsseldorf - Viva CD (album) cover

VIVA

La Düsseldorf

 

Krautrock

3.36 | 20 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The band La Düsseldorf (from, as you might have guessed, the city of Düsseldorf) stands in relation to its parent group NEU! like a sleek, newer model of a vintage roadster, fresh off the assembly lines in 1976. This was the sophomore effort for Klaus Dinger and company, not as strong as their self-titled debut but still another minor gem from the less traveled corners of late '70s Krautrock

Fans of NEU! will immediately recognize the automotive 4/4 beat, the ringing guitars and gentle washes of keyboard, and of course the home-made cut-and-paste cover art, a Dinger specialty years before it became a New Wave cliché. But it's a more haphazard collection of songs this time around, sounding in places not unlike outtakes from the earlier album, patched quickly together but presented with confidence and more than a little post-punk gusto.

The title track opens the album with a fuzzed-out, foot-stomping anthem, followed immediately by the equally energetic thrash of "White Overalls", a tribute to the band's stylish new uniforms. Or would it be crass to read a deeper Teutonic subtext into the title, translating "overalls" as "über alles"?

A few shorter numbers lead to the album's obvious highlight: the epic 20+ minute "Cha- Cha 2000", on the original vinyl filling all of Side Two. In true Krautrock fashion it's a schizophrenic beast: one half quintessential motorik adrenalin rush, the other half a dreamlike lullaby played on a solo piano. "The future is calling", chants Dinger throughout, and here it is: a celebration of soon-to-be modern times in pre-unification Germany, made from equal parts sleek, shiny chrome and infectious optimism.

Sample lyric: "We need better leaders, who love us and don't cheat us". Not exactly poetry, but refreshing stuff from a musician who in the past wore a punk rock sneer every bit as Vicious as Sid's. And believe it or not the words even rhyme (sort of).

The year 2000 may already be a distant memory, but the song (and the sentiment) is still ahead of its time. As was the band itself: one of the more forward-thinking outfits from an always innovative musical culture.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |

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