PENDIKEL - Don't Cry, Mondgesicht

Pendikel - Don't Cry, Mondgesicht

12 songs
53:11 minutes
***** *****


Pendikel have been around for more than ten years already, and I have to admit, full of shame, that until this fourth record, I have never heard of them before. They started out as a noise rock outfit, but when their rhythm section left them for emo hardcore band Waterdown, Pendikel continued as a two-piece and left a lot of their aggression. And why not, as Don't Cry, Mondgesicht is one of the finest pieces of German rock music I have ever heard.

The starting epic Dead City, running for nearly eight minutes, is a piece of finest kraut prog rock, with lots of tension building up, dramatic vocals reminding of Anyone's Daughter and stranger keyboard sounds owing to mid-Seventies Grobschnitt. It comes as no surprise that Pendikel are influenced by early prog rock and singer/songwriters like Nick Drake and Robert Wyatt. This already is enough for me to make them the good guys in my book. After this creepy song about suicide, the elegiac six-minute Handbuch continues with more gloomy atmospheres, although less arty this time. Back to the roots Pendikel go with the cynical Zitatmaschine where loud guitars and surreal lyrics cumulate into angry screaming (not screamo) parts, and it's here where I felt vaguely reminded of another underestimated German band, the Fast Food Cannibals. Falsche Freunde is something like a bitter song about young kids who desperately want to find a tough guy identity and finally land in the hardcore punk scene. The lyrics, ranging from sarcasm to pity, are backed by a song that's so atypically symphonic that it's like a slap in the face of every punk fan. You could even wonder if this song is influenced by the fact that their rhythm section decided to find more success with the more popular Waterdown. Be it as it is, Pendikel are maybe full of cynicism, but their music is a zillion times more interesting than the rather basic emo core from the competition. La Chanson Parfaite is another lyrically weird track, where the band ponders what would happen if they wrote the perfect song. This happens to be a perfect pop song, a bit in the vein of Bruce Hornsby, and although there is a lot of sweetness in the song, the band dismisses the idea in the end, thus deconstructing the whole idea of the song itself. Fall B is another rocker that is suddenly interrupted by a mellotron part that segues into a funny/sad bit about doomed birds. Aufräumen im sozialistischen Kindergarten is a cryptic little instrumental piece, nothing else than a part of the Internationale played on a musical box. Nach dem Piepton is an angular rock piece with hints to symphonic rock, Gewinner is also a straighter track although at times it comes across as a German Cardiacs song, before Arbeiterlied is a truly sad ballad about an accident at sea. The title track Don't Cry, Mondgesicht is another long track, and unsurprisingly also in a very 70s prog way, reminding me of Led Zeppelin's No Quarter, before the quiet Bis zum letzten Mal ends the album.

I rarely take the time to make my thought to every single track of an album, but Don't Cry, Mondgesicht was just begging for it. Lying somewhere between the elegy of Kante and the craziness of Fast Food Cannibals, Pendikel achieve the rare feat of being a German band that doesn't have to sound like Wir Sind Helden, Sportfreunde Stiller and all the other hyped boring artists. Of course Pendikel will never see the charts from the inside, but instead they can pride themselves in having released an album that not only convinced, but even overwhelmed this reviewer that normally is very sceptical of German language music. Anything but the maximum rating would be an insult to the genius of this two-piece.

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