ACTION ACTION - An Army Of Shapes Between Wars

Action Action - An Army Of Shapes Between Wars

13 songs
62:46 minutes
***** *****


The first time I skip-listened to Action Action's sophomore release An Army Of Shapes Between Wars and was a bit disappointed because I got the impression that not much new happened to their sound. I didn't do them justice, because they are one of the rare young bands whose songs are so full of ideas and emotions that you need to lay back and give them a couple of times your undivided attention before you grasp the power of their music.

There are even more keyboards and synthesizers than on their already fabulous debut Don't Cut Your Fabric To This Year's Fashion, and the songs seem to have developed an even higher amount of accessibility. Vocalist and keyboarder Mark Thomas Kluepfel makes it clear from the first (admittedly annoying) sound that starts the album that he is the brainchild behind Action Action. He doesn't only sing, he lives his songs, and his keyboards either use vintage sounds (I particularly like the proggy mellotrons), or he is making up his own sounds, making the album sound like the heyday of new wave music, without the clinical coldness and with the warmth of American power pop, as if Gary Numan had decided to be a founding member of Nada Surf. So who cares that The Game sounds a lot like Oasis? Or that it's exactly that song that will be the video clip? Or that they were produced by the same guy who used to work with pop parrot Cindy Lauper?

What remains is a full hour of music that is constantly on the highest level, and sometimes really moves my heart (Chemical Frustration, Sleep Paralysis). What Temperature Does Air Freeze At? quotes the Beatles with tongue firmly in cheek. I could go on and on about this album, and the more I listen to it, the more I discover. And the album ends on the same annoying sound, making it a circular listening experience, perfect for the repeat button on your CD player.

Action Action have become more mature, and by consolidating the original sound of their debut album, they even added more pop appeal, took the punk rock out of the music and found a niche of their own, something which only few bands can claim for themselves these days. This CD is a must-have!

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