Urlaub in Polen - Health and Welfare

A cod-heavy voice asks “tell does he love you/like the way I love you?” over an extremely Gothic backdrop. It is brilliant, funny and a teeny-weeny bit disturbing.

 

Urlaub in Polen – Health and Welfare

http://www.tomlab.com/

 

A tale of two halves. The first five tracks on this LP are belters; moody, inventive, funny and dosed with a great sensibility. However things really fall away in the second half of the record, becoming conventional, flat and frankly a bit tedious. A shame.

 

Opener Zwo is a mere introductory noise, preparing us for Wanderlust, which is the key track. Driven by constantly, cussedly leaden-footed beat it lags around, mooching and complaining of its fate like a "wronged" teenager, but somehow musters up enough charm to keep a smile on your face. Beatrice boasts a synth refrain taken from a Moebius & Plank track (or it could be from a Harmonia/Eno number, I forget which). Anyway, it's put to good use in a pretty standard, straight rock track. Somehow the weird noises and the intense upfront nature of the drumming keep things interesting. Inkin Ark uses heavily sampled voices over a metronomic beat. The tracks relentless, foot-to-the-floor nature is offset by the clever use of texture and space. At times it sounds like a very, very nasty Kraftwerk, (now who could think such a thing?)

 

The next number, D.T.W.I.L. is a fabulous Numan rip-off and the best thing yet. A cod-heavy voice asks "tell does he love you/like the way I love you?" over an extremely Gothic backdrop.  It is brilliant, funny and a teeny-weeny bit disturbing. And High German camp. Sadly things are never as interesting again. A case of Getting from A to B opens like something off the Cocteau Twins' Treasure, and leads very quickly into A Case of Getting From B to C, which despite a thumping drum and silly refrain is devoid of the quirky charm that enlightened the earlier tracks.

 

Alas, from here on, the LP seems to run out of ideas. The vocals are delivered just straight, no silly noises, no phasing and no squiggles. Crash is a case in point. Despite a promising beginning it settles down far too quickly to be a straight out and out rock track. I mean there's no let up in the intensity, it's just not balanced with anything. The same can be said about La Gallina and Health & Welfare.

 

A pity.

 

Words: Richard Foster.