PENDIKEL - Pendikeland

Pendikel - Pendikeland

13 songs
52:24 minutes
***** ****


Five years ago, Pendikel reinvented themselves with their third album Don’t Cry, Mondgesicht. The former noise rock band had reduced itself to a duo that decided to get rid of the heavy guitars in favour of a more artful approach. It must have been quite an ordeal to write a fitting successor after this genial CD. In late 2007, the bridged the gap with a nice oddities and rarities collection, but it took them from there on more than three hard years to finally resurface with their fifth regular album Pendikeland. In the meantime, they hired the services of a rhythm section, and although the new record is certainly harder than the previous one, the progressive sensibilities are still quite present.

Subdivided into three parts and a finale, Pendikeland is supposedly a concept work, but the lyrics, as usual full of undecipherable metaphors, make it hard to understand the true meaning. Not that it matters, as long as the songs are good. Unlike the more accessible predecessor, Pendikeland is not an instant winner. At first everything sounded too strange with unexpected parts creeping up all over the place, and it must have taken me at least three concentrated runs before I finally understood that Pendikel are still as good as they used to be, except that they refuse to repeat what they did in the past. And that’s one of the biggest compliments you can give an artist or a band.

The first part of the record is the hardest to follow. I wonder if that’s just me or if this was intended. The songs switch crazily between truly sombre tones and densely layered guitars, making the listener unsure if he’s listening to an indie or a heavy rocking band. The second part starts with the first single Trag die alten Sachen auf, and it’s here where Pendikel simplify things without every relying on banality. The melodies are just great, Carsten Sandkämper’s understated vocals are a treat, and the new found band members help to make for a more organic sound. The last part allows for more electronic sounds and sequencer patterns, without of course giving up their rock roots, before the final Pendikeland concludes the album.

It’s really hard to describe Pendikeland fitfully. You better form your own opinion by listening to it. I’d like to draw a parallel to German prog rock band Anyone’s Daughter, although the band is apparently not displeased by also being compared to Grobschnitt’s magnum opus Rockpommel’s Land. As you can guess, Pendikel are actually a progressive rock band which still uses the ingredient of indie rock music, and in some ways just like Radiohead, they succeed… although in my opinion the Germans are much more invigorating than the lately rather overhyped Brits.

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