ILL? - Ill?

Ill? - Ill?

10 songs
40:37 minutes


Two and a half years ago, the last Emergenza festival was the start of a passionate love-hate relationship between Ill? and DisAgreement Online. Granted, we always took the opportunity during those festivals to be as subjective as possible to aggravate as many people as possible, and it was funny somehow how different scenes clashed and created cultural shocks for all involved. Ill? were one of the really hard to grasp bands, formed in 2000, getting to know each other in a boy scout camp, and playing traditional rock music the way it was more or less popular twenty years ago. They made it to the finals, but not among the top three, although local jazz institution Gast Waltzing was convinced enough to offer them to record a single. I don’t know if that one was ever released, but now in late 2007, we can finally enjoy Ill?’s self-titled longplayer.

Waltzing, although a jazz man by birth, but eclectic enough by nature, does a surprisingly good job with the production, and the first couple of songs are not even that bad. The opener A Song Called Boomerang, although it has clumsy lyrics (a fact repeated unfortunately on many tracks), wins me over with a nice guitar chord sequence and discreet keyboard carpets. The following three songs continue the band’s melodic hard rock approach. The songwriting is basically rather straight, Misch’s vocals vary from emotionally intense to sometimes a little frail, and although this is not really my kind of music, it’s ok enough. The ballad Endless Miles Away has a high emotional meaning for the band, but unfortunately it comes across to tearful to make it enjoyable anymore. To continue with a joke song like MŽcken, sung in Luxembourgish, rather feels like questionable taste. Apart from that, I don’t like that song because the rhymes are just a little too easy, and the band sounds too much like Moof light, sorry. The longer Freak Down sees the band living up to top form again, heading into a slightly more psychedelic direction, before their rock songs take over again, ending the album with another not too arousing ballad.

Ill? certainly have made progress in the last two years, I don’t deny that, but the album still lacks highlights, and would have had more punch, were it only half as long. Fans of the more moderate face of Letz Rock (Daniel Balthasar, Stories To Tell, etc.) might still risk an ear, but I conclude this review with a conciliatory five point rating, with the hope that the band focuses more on their strengths and tries for more varied songwriting the next time around.

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