TRACK REVIEW: Odd Couple – Am I Evil

TRACK REVIEW:

 

Odd Couple

 

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 PHOTO CREDIT: Tobias Feltes

 

Am I Evil

 

 

9.6/10

 

 

Am I Evil is available at:

https://soundcloud.com/cargorecordsgermany/odd-couple-am-i-evil/s-L6GaK

GENRE:

Rock

ORIGIN:

Berlin, Germany

RELEASE DATE:

April, 2017

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The album, Flügge, is available from:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/flugge/id1198705512

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EVERY kind of duo I am approached with….

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sparks something in my mind. In the case of Germany’s Odd Couple; I am looking at the male duo and the type of music being favoured by them. I shall go on to investigate Rock acts that take from older Blues styles and have a looser approach to the genre; the Berlin music scene and a slightly underground, seedier side; acts who move from one genre to another and the changing nature of lyrical themes – considering the political and social platform the world is on right now. I’ll start on the first point about duos. It seems that configuration is becoming popular – something I have explored before – but not at the expense of bands and solo artists. I have talked about duos and why they are popular: feel it is a perfect balance, really. What you get are, one hopes, two very close people and no excess. There is a concentration and focus that feeds directly into the music. What I have found, with bands especially, is there can be a lack of concentration and real focus. It is mainly reserved for new acts but is starting to show in the mainstream. Maybe genres like Rock and Indie are culpable but I am less impressed and struck by bands at the moment. Perhaps it is the way the market is changing – or solo artists are coming through strong – but I am drawn more to duos and solo acts. Given the quality of and the attention paid to duos like Royal Blood; it gets me thinking about the male/same-gender duo. I have speculated duos work so well because of the chemistry and friendship between the two. In a lot of male-female duos, they are in a relationship – that can create its own obstacles but can lead to naturally effective and simpatico performances. When looking at the boys; I bring acts like Royal Blood to the fore.

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The Brighton duo is inspiring a lot of new male duos but Odd Couple have been operational before they came to prominence. It might be brotherly understanding or a couple of mates vibing together: I am drawn to the male duo and the sounds they make. A lot of the time, it tends to be Rock/heavier sounds. Whereas mixed-gender duos are broader but experiment with Pop/Electronic; the girls, it seems, tread the same sort of lines. It is a generalisation but I see far fewer ‘heavier’ all-girl duos – the same goes with boy-girl duos. For the boys, there is that rise in hard-hitting male examples. It is interesting speculating whether that is the predicted norm or suits the kind of friendship they have. I could, but will not, get into psychology and whether a more affectionate, open style of music would be seen as vulnerable and a bit sappy – dudes in duos not wanting to sing something quite emotive and fragile together. It is interesting to ponder – although, maybe just me – but feel there is more rigidity in male duos. Not that that is a bad thing, necessarily. The kind of music being produced right now is spectacular. There are those Royal Blood-like Rock bands that go for the gut but, stepping away from Rock a bit, there are those who favour a blend of Pop and Rock – stir some sweeter elements into the pot to come up with something both bracing and summery. In terms of Odd Couple; they have that tight and compelling friendship but have that incredible, urgent sound that is guaranteed to see them rise from the Berlin venue scene and get them huge international recognition. I will expand on that more but, at this time, it is worth having a cheeky side-step into Rock and how Odd Couple are bringing a classic, looser style to their music.

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Odd Couple produces a contrast of Kosmische Musik (‘cosmic music’) and Blues; a bit of 1970s Rock and something approaching Garage. In the past, another area I will go onto, they produced muscle-flexing, grittier Garage but have, in their more-recent records, evolved into a more measured, fulsome and interesting beast. I will not go into my well-oiled debate about Rock’s lifespan: whether it is on the final legs or undergoing a resurgence. What I am finding is a more diverse and experimental scene. You cannot peg Rock down to a single sound or assume it is all the same. I am a fan of swaggering duos like Royal Blood and young bands like The Amazons but more compelled by those acts who blend modern and older sounds into a Rock boiling pot. As mentioned, Odd Couple used to have a more Garage-like sound but, now, favour a looser, less sanitised version. The German twosome has that voyeuristic, darker side that neighbours intrusive thoughts and a slight sense of the perverse – in terms of the sort of sound and sexiness they can get from a riff. If you take Jack White as an influence and example. The guys, in a way, draw a line through The White Stripes’ hottest sounds and the dinosaur-sized, scuzzy riffs of Led Zeppelin. They support the notion, one I can subscribe to, that Rock has become more sanitised and lobotomised in the last few years. Maybe the mainstream welcomes something cleaner and less repressive: those who keep it pure and untamed tends to toil in the underground far longer than they should. Because of this revelation of realisation; the guys have switched their game up and turned the clock back. Gone are any suggestions of skinny jeans, ironic band T-shirts and ill-fitting leather jackets. In are the audaciously long hair and ever-present cigarette; a seductive and lioness look Robert Plant would be jealous of – the look and sound of a ‘proper’ working Rock band. Perhaps it is not a shock certain acts would revert to this established and popular sound. I have mentioned Jack White who is someone who has a bit of Robert Plant to him: inspired by the same Blues roots Led Zeppelin favoured and provider of sounds that could do with a scrub behind the ears.

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I agree there is a certain cleanliness and safety in Rock at the moment. Yeah, there are some promising acts emerging but few that have that exhilarating, older sensation – not in the mainstream at least. To me, music will leap forward and inspire when we take risks and go against the grain. I am hearing R&B/Rap artists use Jazz samples and sounds to give their cutting and knife-sharp couplets a smoothness and sense of sexuality. In Rock, there are a lot of artists that seem to have a calculated formula and defined structure. Odd Couple are disciplined but follow few rules and market guidelines. If you take White; he has always been obsessed with those Blues acts like Son House and Blind Willie McTell – the guys who changed the face of Blues and have endured and inspired through the decades. Whilst a lot of White’s peers were hooked on the charts and the modern-day bands; White was listening to the Blues, Led Zeppelin and Bob Dylan. Because of that, on his pre-White Stripes work and early cuts with the due, there was an original and unexpected Garage Rock-Blues sound. It was raw and lo-fi: the duo of Jack and Meg would record at Jack’s house in Detroit and lay down the tracks on four/eight-track – normally, the record could be cut in a few days. Essentially, the duo were recording the songs live and doing very little work once the songs had been completed. That sort of ethic and practice happens with a few bands in the underground but almost unheard of in the mainstream. Jack would employ piano and the odd strings but rely on that electric guitar: no effects and pretence: dirty, swaggering riffs and Blues moves that perfectly balanced Meg’s unsophisticated, albeit underrated, percussion and support. One feels Odd Couple have that same sort of quick and uncomplicated working methodology. Flügge has modernity and a bit of polished but is defined by its classic sound and dinosaur riffs. With Jack White teasing new material this year – although he does not record to eight-track and as lo-fi as his White Stripes days keeps true to his roots – we could (I hope) see Rock artists who turn back the clock to a time when the genre had a masculinity and looseness.

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I can’t remember the last time I featured an artist based in Germany – I think Kir Banu was the last. It is great to be in a nation that is not getting as much attention as it should. In terms of European music; a lot of the focus tends to be in the U.K. and areas like Sweden and Norway. In terms of the established bands from Berlin; we have Seeed, Rammstein and Wir sind Helden.  Seeed are still a big force around Berlin but have expanded their horizons – the same can be said of Rammstein. Silbermond stem from Bautzen (Saxony) but consist Stefanie Kloß, Andreas Nowak, Johannes and Thomas Stolle. They are one of the better Rock bands emerging from the city and look set to be a big proposition in the coming years. Beatsteaks are a popular Punk-Rock band who have been gigging and amazing since 1995. Like Paris and Madrid; there are some fantastic local acts that might struggle to grab the attention of the mainstream press. How many sources in Britain and the U.S. focus on Berlin and the Germany music scene? I mentioned how Scandinavia gets focus and seeing its artists assimilate over here but is that the case with Germany? Those Berlin acts are worth watching out for but I feel Odd Couple have the potential to top them all. They arrived in the city about six years ago and, as their name implies, were a little bit foreign. The sort of vivid and shocking scenes they would have witnessed – maybe after-dark and down alleyways – contained drug-taking and hepcats; a trendiness and restlessness that would balk many. They are not fully acclimatised and still trying to find their place in a city that has few equals. Perhaps things have calmed a little but it is that sort of modern-and-messy mix that explains the type of music coming from Berlin. A lot of great Punk acts are forming but you have that coinciding vein of commercial Pop and Electronic experimentation. Odd Couple, one suspects, would feel more at home in the U.K. and U.S. – where their brand of music is more common – but are certainly taking influence from the Berliners and their way of life.

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Fully in touch with the London scene and sounds; it is always interesting looking at somewhere like Berlin and how it contrasts. Of course, they do not have as large and productive music industry as London. One feels a lot of D.J.s and Techno wizards still play the underground clubs; those Heavy Metal bands and Punk pretenders sweat-up the local venues. Odd Couple are part of a more mainstream-worthy, accessible guise. I am a big fan of Metal and Rock but find a lot of German/Berlin acts can take time getting used to. Not only do a lot of the bands sing in German – making it hard to understand and fully connect with the lyrics – but it tends to have a similar sound. There is variation in Berlin Rock but not as much as, say, London or New York. I have never visited Berlin but know it is a busy and bustling city: so many fantastic people and a variegated music scene. I can see Odd Couple moving to somewhere like London in the future as, I feel, they would have greater contemporary support and more opportunities. Where they are, they certainly are taking from the city. I may be a little harsh on the potential and quality of Berlin’s music but know there are so many great artists that escape the attention of the media. I love the duo’s arrival and eye-opening experience. It is like arriving in New York in the 1970s and that seediness and tempestuous hustle. Berlin, whilst not as packed and crazy, has a certain ‘character’ to it. I can imagine, like London, there is a diversity (depending what part of the city you are based) but Berlin seems to draw together the hip and cool of East London with the grime and ‘reality’ of the South’s boroughs. Maybe that is over-simplified but I can see why Odd Couple’s eyes were opened when they first arrived. Am I Evil takes a bit from the people and streets: grabbing specimens that lie on the streets (best not ask) and the conversations they hear; that feeling of dread in some and the optimism in others. It is a moment that perfectly represents where they are right now but has a distinct mix of local and universal. The boys have evolved since their early recordings in terms of their Rock sound and what they are talking about.

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Tammo Dehn and Jascha Kreft not only react to the state of the world but turn the microphone inwards and create a certain introspection. Alongside this commonality and common-voice is huge originality and invention. They want to create music the likes of Germany has never heard. There is a slight stagnation and predictability in Berlin: that reliance on established Rock acts and not moving past that; a few Punk-Rock treasures but not a big a spread as areas like L.A. and London. Since their debut, It’s a Pressure to Meet You, two years ago; the guys, in a way, are taking a shot at the start and giving it another go. Their debut is not a mistake but they feel they have a lot more to say. Flügge is a more ambitious album and one that has more nuanced and highlights than its predecessor. A mouthpiece and pulpit for millennial dissatisfaction and a nervousness pervading the globe: expect some big issues, meaty themes and incredible Rock. In an age where few artists are willing to stray from their own lives and concerns; it is encouraging finding a duo who are unafraid to break from the pack. That is not to suggest Flügge is a claustrophobic and doom-laden record. What one gets is a deep and thoughtful collection of songs but one that soars and flies. There are big tunes and choruses together with an overriding sense of hope and redemption. The Berlin residents are not ones to wallow and point without purpose. Yes, they cast blame and realise the fear that circulates the globe. Rather than rally and rebel without purpose; what we get is an intelligent and wise set of tracks that urge one to think and take action. It reminds me of the punk stalwarts like The Clash: back in the days when there was definite political and social awareness and less dependence on love and the self.

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PHOTO CREDIT: stefanie schmid rincon photo

I’ll guide things to the music of Odd Couple but am keen to give background and substance to a duo that deserves a large and eager fanbase. They have this right now and it can be no coincidence their new music is attracting such acclaim. Given the terrorism that has afflicted Germany the last few months and the general feeling of unease and unpredictability – this is an album that tackles that and tries to make sense of it all. Odd Couple react to the dissatisfaction and confusion the young generation possesses and point at solutions and explanations. In an age where so many people feel isolated and ignored; it is important musicians acknowledge this and make that known. Flügge is a challenging and stunning work from the band and will not only inspire other Berlin artists to push boundaries and broaden their music but not be so beholden to market tastes and critical expectations. Odd Couple want to ascend to the mainstream but will do it on their own terms. I am surprised why so few artists actually take the time to look at issues around the globe and troubling the population. It sounds weighty in those terms but has a lot of scope and potential. Not only can you use any sound/genre you like by tackle anything from political ignorance to the way social media affects interaction and mental health. I am all for those who want to talk about their own lives and trouble but, after a while, it becomes limiting and pedestrian – not as much potential for mobility and nuance. Let’s hope this is the start of a new phase for Odd Couple who will want to capitalise on this sense of purpose and impetus. They are keen to rebuild their music and portray a less common and samey option. Certainly, in terms of their Rock agenda; they are hard to compare with many new acts in Berlin. That is a good thing because it offers the city a chance for expansion and diversification.

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Looking at an album like It’s a Pressure to Meet You (released in 2015) and it is an eleven-track album both bold and memorable. Although the band have moved away from its sound and changed things for their latest record – there was plenty of promise then that suggested big things. There is a great Garage-Rock sound that runs through; hints of The Kinks and The Hives. Bootcut is a swaggering and cool-edged strut whilst Vooduality is a lo-fi, lost-in-the-machine vocal that has epic riffs and plenty of urgency. In fact, the entire album is noted because of its incredible sounds and snarling guitar work. A duo like Royal Blood are struggling to separate themselves from mainstream Rock and come close to their idols – the likes of The White Stripes. The Brighton duo has been compared with them but lacks the same depth and innovation of The White Stripes. Odd Couple, on their debut, showcased more breadth, expertise and range. Whilst they do not take from acts like The White Stripes; they are much more original and fascinating than Royal Blood (in my view). The big changes between Flügge and It’s a Pressure to Meet You is the production and lyrics. The boys keep the same sort of Alternative/Blues-Rock mantra – even if they have improved that side of things and experiment – and seem bolder and more confident than they did. The lyrics look away from personal concerns and more generic themes and address the nature of self-refection and society. Flügge is a deeper work that is more rounded, enduring and exhilarating. You connect deeper with the lyrics and see more richness and variation in the compositions. In terms of the production, there is still rawness but there is great clarity and polish than their debut – maybe in an attempt to match the lyrics and themes of Flügge.

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Flügge is available to the public and, before the boys embark on tour dates in Germany and Denmark; they are promoting the album and ensuring its songs reach as many people as possible. Am I Evil is the album’s eleventh track (of fourteen) and, as you’d imagine from the increased track numbers, shows the German duo have that extra confidence and have been pretty busy. There is a mix of German and English titles/lyrics that means it will appeal to German and English audiences – neither will feel alienated or struggle to bond with the songs. There is something pleasing and intriguing about the early notes of Am I Evil. It is tripping and jiving: the guitar and drums spar and tease one another in a sort of crime drama of the 1960s. You see the song in black-and-white – bands like The Beatles and The Kinks mix with Led Zeppelin – and something charming and unexpected. The drums start to heighten but you are caught by the funkiness and captivating sound. One might get a little hint of The White Stripes and Arctic Monkeys. The Detroit duo’s Elephant album sounds like an influence; as does Arctic Monkeys’ A.M. Saying that, it is a typically robust and driving song from Odd Couple who, from the first vocal notes, signify intent and change. One can understand and appreciate the lyrics more – the listener was slightly hampered by a lack of intelligibility on It’s a Pressure to Meet You. The song catches you at every stage and will spike the senses. The guitar-and-drum combination has so much funkiness and dance you are properly involved. Our hero looks at a certain ill that has not been contained and is everywhere. Whether that refers to the political changes in the world or the way society is unfolding – one senses something literal and universal. One might get the impression Am I Evil is about a personal problem or romantic tangle. From the opening lines, I was drawn to the political map and how terrorism, fear and uncertainty have overtaken reality and safety – the hero wondering if, by extension, he is evil.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Miriam Marlene Waldner

The Pluspunkt of Am I Evil is that composition and the way it evolves and strikes. Again, the more the song goes on, there is a slight decipherability drop – the lyrics getting buried under the instruments and too distorted to make out some lines. It is, perhaps, appropriate emotional and sonic clothing: a need to authentically represent a sense of confusion, detachment and anxiety. That can be forgiven because the boys come together and, whilst showing some of their influences on sleeves, distinguish themselves with a terrific sound. The score stops and starts; it kicks and nods without prediction and predictability. I have mentioned The White Stripes – a tail-end sound of Seven Nation Army around the chorus – and there is a definitely influence there. That being said, the boys have crafted their unique sound across two albums and merely use other artists sparingly. What motivates me about Am I Evil’s early phases is the attention-to-detail and colours. It is never straight-forward and basic – many Rock songs suffer that. It is a more complex and developed song than It’s a Pressure to Meet You’s best moments. That album had terrific spirit and range but, here, there is a new sound being forged and a nod to the classic, intelligent riffs of the past – rather than the type the mainstream favours right now. Tied to a deep and provoking lyric; Odd Couple grab a beer and take it to the floor. Our hero is investigating and involved in the afterglow – this puzzle, he says, she (the heroine, perhaps?) will never solve. As the track moves on, your mind is divided between interpretations of politics and love. There is a suggestion Odd Couple have a personal and romantic agenda here. Maybe there is disquiet and opprobrium in a relationship that needs disquisition and addressing. My mind is always committed to that socio-economic/political viewpoint. Maybe it is less a call to the German leader but those who are culpable and deplorable – leaders and decision-makers outside of Germany.

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Granted, there has been that British decision to leave the E.U. and Trump’s decision to undo all the good work Barack Obama did – taking the U.S. into a dark age right now. Maybe it is more oblique and a general reaction to harder times. Whatever the true nature, one cannot help but become addicted to the song. It yowls and sparks – a fiery riff-cocktail towards the end is a particular highlight – and struts; it dances and runs before punching and retreating. It is such a physical and active track: a declaration of intent I can see going down well on the road. It is a song that can unify crowds and get bodies jumping; something that burrows in the brain and compels a lot more time. The duo has been keen to dispose of that easy answer: assimilating into the mainstream by producing the sort of music that is easy and without depth. They were never culpable of such a sin but felt (their first album) trod closely to the kind of stuff you hear too commonly. One can hear the changes and improvements on Flügge. Its current single has that dinosaur stomp and blend of 1960s and 1970s nods; some riffs from the ‘90s but lashings of modern-day relevance. As the song enters those final stages, the chorus comes back into the fray and is repeated with determination and electioneering vitality. The boys combine so tightly and impressively throughout. You never feel uninvolved or bored – even when that riff is reintroduced time and time again. It is such a cultured and thought-through sound that means every listener will take something away from it. I mentioned how effective the song would sound live: it is a big and anthemic number that has the potential to exhilarate the big crowds. I am surprised some stations in the U.K. have not picked the song up (maybe they have?) as it has a great sound the likes of BBC Radio 6 Music would champion. That is a consideration for Odd Couple and their management. Am I Evil is a terrific song from an album in no short supply of gems. The Berlin-based duo wanted to make changes and improvements after It’s a Pressure to See You. On the evidence of Am I Evil, they have not only made a personal leap but prove themselves to be one of the most impressive and statuesque acts in modern music.

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I have rabbited (constructively) about the guys and Odd Couple’s quirks and positives. Before I revert back to them, I will look ahead to the remainder of 2017. It is clear there is a movement of Rock coming through this year. Aside from rumoured releases from Jack White and Queens of the Stone Age; we know Royal Blood will be unveiling their second album. Away from commercial and mainstream releases, there is plenty to get one’s teeth into. The last few years have not been as strong in that sense and there might be reasons for that. A lot of rather formulaic and uninspiring Rock as bouncing around which led critics to wonder whether the genre was dead altogether. I feel there has been that need to regroup and think about putting more inspiration and originality into the form. Rather than produce something inorganic and mindless; I am seeing some intelligent and oldskool Rock bands coming through who look set to breathe life into the genre – I shall come to this more in a second. Odd Couple have performed dates in Germany and are building a great reputation. They have a tie to the U.K. and getting representation here – P.R. taken care of to ensure their songs reach British hands (like mine). I am excited to see whether the guys are going to perform over here in the coming months. Flügge is a terrific album both relevance and advanced. It is a step forward for Odd Couple and will recruit many new fans. There is a band of appreciation here and collective that yearns to hear their new material in the flesh. If they have any London/U.K. dates planned I am not sure – a sojourn over here would be appreciated and popular. Aside from that, one looks at other nations the U.S. and the possibilities they have there. I know they would get gigs in the West and East – L.A. and New York well-stocked for hospital venues. Going further, they could travel across the nation and take their music to those away from the metropolitan areas. Europe is a busy breeding ground and one that welcomes fantastic and inventive acts – let’s hope the boys capitalise on that.

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One of the reasons school chums Tammo Dehn and Jascha Kreft are resonating is their connection and affection. They are one of those duos who seem inseparable and are on the same wave-length. They mix German and English lyrics but remain decipherable and accessible – not choosing to comprise their mother tongue nor alienate non-German-speaking audiences. The simplicity and funkiness of their riffs is just what we need. Tracks like Gedächtnismann and Gone Solid – a track that has done sterling business since its release – provide just how effective their recipe is. That is the thing with duos: there is little clutter and the chance to focus and concentrate. There is not the overkill and fat a band could provide: neither does one have to contend with the limitations and realities many solo artists provide. One gets the best of both ends of the spectrum. Killer tracks such as Tubes & Wires, Gehirnkasten and Go Sees will lodge in the brain for weeks – Am I Evil a natural single and standout cut. I am eager to see how Odd Couple move after Flügge and whether they will continue down the same path. In terms of lyrical inspiration and compositions; they have hit a winning formula so it seems that will remain. The duo is as tight and compelling as ever and it would be good to see them announcing their presence as much as possible. Many bands/duos are diversifying and subverting expectations – in terms of how their music is released and what is released. Whether the guys would, like some have, do a cassette release or double A-side; maybe a concept E.P. or a standalone single – shake things up and provide audiences and journalists with a bit ofa surprise. There is a lot of motivation and inspiration in the Odd Couple camp right now.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Felicia Kubieziel

Many of us are unfamiliar with Berlin and German music and that is something that will change. I have not had too much exposure to the nation and have a couple of connections – London-based NINA/Nina Boldt is a great artist from Germany – but am keen to exploit Germany more. I feel areas like Berlin will see a shift given artists like Odd Couple. Certainty, there is an established and inherent sound in Berlin – one that holds close to what has come before. Those big Metal bands and Punk acts are still relevant but seem rather niche and old-fashioned in a city that is as vibrant and changing as any. Of course, there is a whole host of bands and artists one can experience. If you want chart Pop music or edgy Electronic acts, then there will be an option out there. I feel Berlin has the potential to be as monetised and important as London. It needs to gentrify some of its less-than-desirable aspects and weaponise the local media. I feel they have been a bit quite when it comes to proffering the talent available in the city. In terms of the music radio stations play and what the public wants to discover – there is a clash and difference of opinions. Odd Couple is part of the new wave balking against conventionality and tired, faceless sounds. I know for a fact there are some fantastic young songwriters in Berlin who have colour, energy and incredible passion. One wonders whether they are being overlooked in favour of samey Rock bands and British/U.S. artists. For music lovers and listeners to get a scope of what is out there they need to go beyond home and mainstream media and investigate upcoming cities like Berlin. European cities like Paris – always established with one of the most prestigious and popular live music venue scenes in the world – and Amsterdam is gaining a greater foothold and showing there is more to European music outside Britain and Scandinavia.

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In terms of Berlin; it is a physical and emotional city whose best venues are not reserved to the main streets and inner-city. Look at Quasimodo whose name suggests hunched doorways and a rather unpleasant aesthetic. Down in Charlottenburg, in the basement of a former dancehall, one can experience incredible jazz from established musicians and the new breed. Junction Bar is over in Gneisenaustrasse and has a rich musical history – one of Kreuzberg’s most-famous spots. Whilst more concerned with Club music and D.J.s; it is available for performances and shows the diversity and energy of Berlin’s nightlife. A-Trane is somewhere I can imagine Odd Couple playing very soon. It is a much-fabled area of Savignyplatz and provides an essential platform for new artists to showcase new material. Again, it caters to the Jazz market but, with the right band in place, could broaden its spectrum and tastes to incorporate Rock and Pop. SO36 caters more to the Punk crowds and, since its creation in the ‘70s, houses a number of great Nu-Wave artists. Since the days Iggy Pop and David Bowie entranced the stage; it is carrying on that legacy and urging the best and brightest of Berlin to get involved. Down by a ramshackle bike shop – beneath the S-Bahn and its railway arches – one can retreat to Golden Gate. It is a Techno hotspot and has improved and grown since its spotty, hit-and-miss beginnings.  It is clear there are some great venues around Berlin but perhaps, those most prominent, are set-up for Jazz, Dance and D.J.s. Were Berlin to have an equivalent of KOKO, The Roundhouse or Camden’s Dublin Castle – maybe it does; I am just speculating. I feel artists like Odd Couple are going to compel a new wave and need more spaces in which to perform. If you are ever in Berlin, it is worth spending a couple of nights investigating the secluded and rambunctious spaces and those more sedate and mellifluous.

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I’ll complete proceedings by looking at Odd Couple and the merits of their album, Flügge. In terms of comparisons and sound-alikes – if one were compelled to match Odd Couple to anyone else – you get flickers of Led Zeppelin’s first two albums; The White Stripes at their finest. Although our dynamic duo has modern recording principles and do not forsake the studio: their latest album has a sense of swagger, big riffs and lo-fi charms. The guys are followers and fans of Rock music that have no ego and sheen: songs that rely on a raw and ready aesthetic; big on instant hooks and taking the genre back to its roots. In a time where there is a tendency for cleaner, ultra-polished Rock to gain focus – not too savage and direct as to scare younger listeners away – it is good to see Odd Couple doing it properly. The boys take a bit from the local Punk and Rock scene but are just as influenced by British and U.S. sounds of the 1970s and ‘90s/’00s. I think about Jack White and that urgent-yet-sophisticated Blues-Rock and think of the guys. I have mentioned Royal Blood – who have been compared with The White Stripes – but are a less advanced and layered alternative. No matter how you see their music and who they remind you of: their new album certainly does what few others do. Not only does one get a bi-lingual approach (German and English titles) but a range of subjects. I have looked into Am I Evil but, throughout the remainder of the L.P., you get political and social commentary; introspection and personal investigation alongside solutions, answers and questions. It might sound heavy and too-serious but that is not the case: the album title means ‘to fly’ and has a definite sense of majesty and ambition. The duo wants to express a sense of freedom and flight – that comes through completely. I was impressed by their consistent and tight sound; the compassion they have for the music and the quotable, memorable lyrics. Put it together and you get an album that reflects the times and promises a new force in German music. I’d be keen to see Odd Couple come back over to the U.K. and give Flügge a big campaign around the towns and cities. It will act as an example of how modern Rock bands can mix fun and seriousness with the modern and classic. Those Odd Couple boys could…

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SHOW them all how it’s done.

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https://oddcoupleberlin.bandcamp.com/

YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAM7rNmzTEi7cE1PkZpo27Q

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