LOVER 303 - Alien Revolution
Two years ago I came across the album The Goddess Rules by Lava 303, an vintage electronic project of Conni Maly, who became rather famous in the early Nineties with her band The Slags. In the late Nineties, after the band broke apart, she went solo with Lava 303, which in the early days of the new millennium branched into Lover 303, a more or less improvisation krautrock meets trance duo between her and Mani Neumeier of Guru Guru fame.
While Conni Maly is in her early forties and still comparatively young, I am always and again astonished how Mani Neumeier still stays active in so many project, considering he is already in his early Seventies. Alien Revolution seems to be the second regular longplayer by Lover 303 which this time have been augmented to a trio, meaning we have Ms Maly on the guitars, Roland MC-303 groovebox (hence the band name) and vocals, Mr Neumeier on drums and the ominously named Member (who is a member of the electro kraut duo emptyblaukraut) on bass, organ and Korg MS-20 synthesizer.
There are of course parallels between Lava 303 and Lover 303, most noticeably with the fact that the two songs Nicht Normal and Die Mama muß mal tanzen gehen were already featured in solo versions on the last Lava 303 album. Otherwise we get a mix between shorter trancy krautrock songs and longer improvisations. The album starts with Neues System, a track that perfectly shows the spirit of Lover 303. It should no longer be necessary to point out Mani Neumeier’s excellent organic, quasi-tribal drumming, which is why I want to draw your attention at Conni Maly’s excellent guitar playing. She may not be the most virtuoso technician, but therefore turns out to be an incredible soulful player who can as well turn out simple, effective riffs as long improvisational jams. The lyrics may strike as naive, but that doesn’t mean that there isn't any truth behind them. It just seems that in our neoliberal times, dreaming of a more just world seems like a waste of time... In some ways, her texts come across as a more toned down Ton Steine Scherben or a slightly less mystical Julian Cope.
The shorter vocal tracks are all ingenious in their own way, while the longer improvisations vary in quality. Der Wahnsinn unserer Zeit for instance comes with spoken words by Taoist Attack, which lend the whole ten minutes an unusual violence. Alien Revolution, the title track, also offers ten minutes of superb trance rock improvisation. The following eleven minute long My Mother In Space might feel a little self-indulgent, but I think that a regular song in between would have helped. The same goes for the concluding eight minute Abendsession, which sounds just like its title suggest: a relaxed evening jam to end the day. Despite its strangely simple lyrics, I really like Ich lieb dich von fern, which comes with a bass line that sounds like a tamer Lemmy Kilmister. The following Frankfurt am Meer is another of the pleasant vocal tracks.
Alien Revolution comes more than ten years after its predecessor Modern Fairytales, which is a long time to come up with new material, but still I think that the new record is maybe a little too long. This doesn’t mean that it is weak, by no means! Conny Maly may have started in a guitar driven indie rock band, but she has moved on since then. Nowadays she does only what she wants to do. In this case, expect unusual trance psyche kraut rock with lots of vintage electronics, drawing possible parallels to Hawkwind, Julian Cope and of course many krautrock bands. Once again I am delighted at how very own and still so good she and her band mates sound. Lover 303 is the perfect music for everyone tired of the same old mainstream fare.