PETROGRAD - Nine One One

Petrograd - Nine One One

11 songs
45:44 minutes
***** ****
(see review)


Petrograd are probably the most popular band from Luxembourg ever, bigger than T42 and D'Juju together will ever be, but they have never been interested in commercial adaptation, which is why they are still more or less ignored by the mainstream media. But then 10.000s of sold records is not a small number for a band coming from a country with less than half a million inhabitants (although most of these records have been sold outside of Luxembourg, and many even outside of Europe).

But let's have a look at Petrograd's third longplayer Nine One One (although their entire discography contains 13 releases in only 6 years). There have been two years since abc, but you can't say Petrograd changed their style a lot, but then why should they as what they did so far proved to be perfect pop punk? The album title can be read in two different ways: either the date 9/11 which was the end of so-called democracy in the USA, or as the American rescue phone number. This is a politically charged album, and if that comes as a surprise to you, it means that you must be new to Petrograd.

The opener Song For Jessie and the following Guerre Civile (French title, but curiously sung in German) are short, fast and melodic punk songs, before Petrograd cut back a bit with Among The Rocks which is magnificent power pop. They are swinging between those two styles during the whole album, although two extraordinarily long songs (Mary Poppins and No Stripes On The Moon) are kept at the very end.

Although the band chose July 20th as the video edit (which you find a link for at their website) because it's the most accessible song, dealing with the police terror at the G8 meeting in Genua a couple of years ago, my favourite track is Next Exit Wonderland. Maybe that's because Shakin' Stevens used to give it tons of airplay on Radio ARA, but to me it's just the perfect blend of fast power pop and a melody which refuses to leave your head.

Musically, Petrograd are many times very fast although they hide that with a great skill for songwriting. The vocals are shared between Diff and Nathalie, but it should be hoped that in the future that Nathalie gets a bigger share of them. Diff's voice may be perfect for this kind of music (except when he sings in German), but at times he seems to monopolise the vocals a little too much (and Nathalie once gave me a can of beer for free, so I am partisan here).

The CD comes with a 64-pages booklet with original artwork by Muriel Moritz and texts by Noam Chomsky in English and Spanish translation. Such a big and educating booklet is very unusual for bands from Luxembourg, and deserves that they finally get more attention. The CD has been released in cooperation with Christopher's Records (Luxembourg), Pozoin Banaketak (Spain) and Noiseworks Records (Germany). You can also order it on the band's homepage for $10 plus shipping costs depending on where you live.

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