Barbara Morgenstern

    The Grass Is Always Greener


    John Darnielle likes this album, and because he’s a pretty cool guy I figured I’d give it a listen. Verdict: It’s nice. Chilly zip-zap synth blips and distortedly textural guitar-noises are humanized — and therefore redeemed — by Morgenstern’s voice, solid melodies and body-warm piano (or maybe it’s just a keyboard made to sound like a piano, whoknowswhocares).

    When the songs stray toward the predictable, the Berlin-based Morgenstern tends to reverse course (the ambient-like-a-sunrise “Das Schöne Einheitsbild” is suddenly reinforced with a steely funk bass line about halfway through), or she’ll simply trot out another gimmick from her sonic bag of tricks (like the My Bloody Valentine guitar moans that haunt “Alles Was Lebt Bewegt Sich”). Regrettably, that bag of tricks begins to feel stale around the eighth track, “Ein Paar Sekunden”: Draggy instrumentals — including the ditzy experimental track “Mailand” — make up most of the final five songs. In other words, you could say that on the album’s much stronger first half, the grass is most definitely greener. Wocka wocka wocka.

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