Monday, 28 October 2019

Double Crush Syndrome - Death to Pop (2019)



Country: Germany
Style: Glam Rock
Rating: 7/10
Release Date: 25 Oct 2019
Sites: Facebook | Instagram | Official Website | YouTube

There's a lot of irony in the title of this album, a punky glam rock platter from Germany's Double Crush Syndrome, because this band are clearly trying, with a reasonable amount of success too, to craft the perfect pop song. Then again, the pop scene has shifted from Marc Bolan to Adam Ant to Prince to, cough, Kanye West and, if the band's point is that that really isn't a good progression, then I'm totally on board.

The oddest thing about this album, though, is that it sounds kind of like a compilation, even though, as far as I know, every track is performed by the same three musicians. The main man is Andy Brings, who sings the lead vocals and plays lead guitar; he's quite obviously a David Bowie fan and perhaps it led him to merge genres the way he does, these songs all being combinations of pop, rock and punk.

Now, Brings used to be in Sodom, one of the Teutonic big four, and Powergod after that, but there's nothing here like those bands. Only a couple of the eleven songs here could even be described as metal: Whore and We Cannot Be Ruled. The former includes a recognisable Iron Maiden riff halfway through, while the latter sounds like Bowie singing for the Ramones. There's quite a lot of Twisted Sister here too, on songs like Souls to Sell, and Tonight is able to successfully find a Hanoi Rocks vibe, so there's definitely rock in the band's arsenal.

I should add that Tonight is also the only song to exceed four minutes and it reaches five and a half, so it clearly has special meaning to the band. It's a simple song, with repetitive punk chords stuck while Brings preaches the band's manifesto: "We're the freaks who really don't care what all the other people think." It really works and, late on, it kicks so outrageously into high gear that it ought to send audiences wild at gigs.

Most of what's here is rooted in old school punk, though, as song lengths of two and a half to four minutes might suggest. Cocaine Lips may be the best song here and it's the Ramones through and through. The one German language track, Die berühmten drei Worte, is like a punk jigsaw puzzle, with the Sex Pistols morphing into Blondie via the ever-present Ramones. While I had to translate the title on Google (it means The Famous Three Words), I do know enough German to understand which three that means. Sure enough, they show up.

Those punk influences are varied enough for songs like I'm in Love with You to remain punk even when they're more delicate pop rock; this one's kind of like a Cheap Trick song with a very catchy hook. With Me is straightforward glam rock as David Bowie might have sung it before he turned into the Thin White Duke. Refuse to Kiss Ass couldn't have been anything except punk just from its title alone and it doesn't disappoint.

The oddest song is Mistakes We Love to Make, which is enticingly different to me and I'm really interested in the influences in play. It starts out as Tigertailz might if they ever covered the Sisters of Mercy, a combination I never thought I'd write down, but it ends up with an Adam Ant chorus, Bowie singing backup. Yeah, that's a heady mix but it's a tasty one. It's easily one of my favourite tracks here and I have a bunch of those.

Sadly, I'm living in the US where the only punk bands who get major airplay are Green Day and their type. Double Crush Syndrome kick their ass without even having to try and they deserve that level of success, even though punk traditionally expects lines like, "Money is good, fame is better" to never be anything except ironic. I hope that both come their way but, if neither show up, I hope that they keep on kicking ass in the underground for a long time. Death to Pop, ich liebe dich.

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