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Album Releases: Cryptic Commands + Just Friends and Lovers
22. Juni 2019, 21:00
„A Year of Living Dangerously“. Back in 1998, when Dana Densmore summarized her activist group Cell 16’s efforts for the women’s movement, she described 1968 as „a year of exhilaration, terror, and upheaval such as everyone should have in her life, but perhaps not more than once.“ „Exhilaration, terror, and upheaval“ – three catchwords that can be directly related to the emotional and contextual tenor of Just Friends and Lovers´ latest coup: With their 2nd full length work Her most criminal crimes this Vienna-based threesome once again displays that – despite the bandwidth and diversity of their songs – their formula is pretty consistent throughout: Actively pushing and pulling between pop sensibilities and punk attitude since 2011, JFAL are a dab hand at not only the swap of instruments, but first and foremost at timbering strong melodies, viral in their catchiness, zested with provocative and wistful lyrics – oozing out as opalescent tales of passion, murder, visions and friendship. This palpable and tuneful combination of joyful urge & pensive melancholy, of humor & annoyance pictures their really open attitude towards music and their strong belief in people’s power. Meeting in the middle of the oblique and the real, »Her Most Criminal Crimes« can evoke smiles or shivers, depending on your state of mind, and – with it’s preference for resourceful originality over standard technique – this album sparkles like the charming chance-child of jangle-pop simplicity and post-punk disorder. All this, blissfully consolidated by the band’s visual mise-en-scène (© Sarah Sternath), paying tribute to Valie Export’s revolutionary „Action Pants“. Oh Those Pants! … Power Pants!
„It’s a widespread secret, everything is falling apart.“ There are numerous examples of bands with several or even all musicians who sing. Most of the time, however, it’s clear who’s the leader and who sets the agenda; the hierarchy within the band remains obvious listeners and gig- goers alike. Cryptic Commands, the Graz-based power punk-pop band, flip this concept on its head with their new second album Modern Talking. It’s clear right from the first listen through that the band take their political aspirations seriously enough to rise above such petty power games. Cryptic Commands are both unity and collective at the same time: A Hydra spitting hits! Andreas Haslauer (Epileptic Media) visualises with his surreal fauna where Cryptic Commands are located musically: ambiguities, false bottoms and abstract thinking merge into a single, seamless heterogeneous work.
A term was established exactly to describe this type of work in the middle of the 20th century: Pop music!