GRAFZAHL - Kolepke zahlt

Grafzahl - Kolepke zahlt

17 songs
61:27 minutes
***** ****


After thirteen years of existence, Grafzahl from Siegen (Germany) release a first band compilation. It's not a greatest hits album, but a collection of rare tracks from different EPs and compilations and there are also three new songs. If you put the CD into your computer, you can listen to some more MP3 files and watch a video clip.

I've never been too familiar with the sound of Grafzahl, although I knew that they had a great reputation in the German underground scene. So Kolepke zahlt is a good opportunity to get confronted with the Grafzahl sound which isn't so easy to classify. It surely is indie pop rock, definitely kept at a lo-fi level but varying from noisy and distorted parts to really nice melodies. International comparisons may be Sonic Youth and Hüsker Dü, but there are also parallels to German indie acts like Boxhamsters, Blumfeld and EA80. The singer is probably the band member causing most discussions. I personally like his melancholic, sometimes bored vocals, but it's possible that other people will consider his singing as amateurish. As is the case for a lot of German indie rock and diskurs pop bands, the lyrics deal about everyday themes in life and seldom have a happy end.

As I'm generally a fan of German indie sounds, I also appreciate Grafzahl's music very much. The album presents a great combination of pop tracks (Trottle, Butter, Dose Gitarren,...) and noisy music with pop appeal (Auf dem Weg zu den Toiletten, Alles dreht sich, Platzhalter,...). Towards the end, you get three calmer songs like one of the few Grafzahl cover versions, namely Langweilig sein, which originally the Pet Shop Boys' Being Bored. The last track Popstar has a slow start, but develops into a nearly ten minutes running noise orgy.

The CD also contains a 24 pages booklet with a lot of interesting liner notes and a huge amount of photographs. I suppose that the CD is not too essential for die-hard Grafzahl fans who own all their outputs. But as this will only be the case for a small minority, Kolepke zahlt is a suitable album either to get to know the band or to acquire finally the missing pieces of the band collection.

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