MARAUD is the third release from German punk band CONFUSED. Ugly American that I am, I’ve never heard of them, but what I received in the mail of the digital age is something a bit different than the punk I usually am most fond of. That in no way is to say it’s bad – – – quite the opposite really. Admittedly, upon my first, half-attended-to listen, it disappeared into background as I was preoccupied with a multitude of other things at the time. But after several well paid attention-to listens I’ve found it to be rather unique in it’s take/place in the genre.
Plus any band that pays tribute to “Hobo With A Shotgun” *(one of the greatest films ever made – – – if you’ve not seen it, stop everything at once, and go watch the fukking movie), a nice slab of thick blues-punk, and one of the more interestingly arranged tracks on the album.
But I digress. Sonically, the first thing you’ll notice is the incredibly clean, clear, and stripped down sound of the production. A paradox of sorts, being as full and lush as it is while remaining stripped and simple – – – what it lacks in this style is the grit one most often associates with most any variety of the genre. “La Fee Verte” *(a song title once used by my band the NECROTICS from about 2001 – – – I found that amusing personally – – – it also happens to refer to the wormwood delights of Absinthe) does bring some of that grit, plus a blend of other incredibly well-arranged genres *(there is a definite Post-Punk influence at work here, teetering on goth at times, and the “Absinthe Ritual” is most beautifully, almost poetically described) together to create what I consider the strongest song on the album. This is by no means untalented crap. Other songs tend to have a somewhat BUSH-meets-BAD RELIGION-meets-HUSKER DU vibe, it all being quite hook-laden and riff oriented, but in all honesty being a bit too clean for my personal tastes – – – the digital production is obvious and abundant, but still CONFUSED somehow seem to make it work. Other songs have a vibe akin to the ‘punk’ that consists of bands like RISE AGAINST!, etc. – – – what I guess one would term “Mall Punk” in the U.S. – – – but more honest in presentation.
Vocally, for that very reason *(the whole RISE AGAINST! reason mentioned above), they at points teeter on an almost emo-esque landscape at times, but always manage to curb it with sudden timing/riff bait-and-switch changes that bring out often quite differing elements hidden within the layers of their sound. But I found it in no way as annoying, nor deliberately commercialized, as most of what would come from this country, were it to be of a similar ilk. “Electric Sheep” is one of the few burners on here, just straight-up fast paced rockers. *(To the PHILIP K. DICK fan, they will appreciate this.) This is my other favorite song on the album, the lyrics blending a series of ideas that are really all one. And the lyrics follow a similar path throughout, blending various ideas and metaphors, small slices of everyday life we all live and suffer, ponder and pain over. The incredibly catchy and surprisingly bluesy “Undergo” captures this perfect. Disillusionment, lost love, longing, life-pressure, repeated self-defeat, and infinity-loop thoughts of the negative wrapping themselves round one’s neck like a millstone as they try to climb the chasm from into which they’ve circumstantially tumbled, are the general themes lyrically, songs like “Hobo With A Shotgun” and “Electric Sheep” merely being metaphorical indicators as to the complications of our societies, our cultures. The final song, “Completely,” might be pro-christian *(not that it has any real bearing on the overall music, but did leave me a little bit confused myself as to what to make of the song – – – it came off as somewhat perhaps a bit unintentionally preachy to my ears.)
Radio-friendly, but by no means bad, CONFUSED’S MARAUD makes its points, for the most part, quite clearly. They *(thankfully) avoid hard-core politics; their one overall theme, to sum it up simply: disillusionment. It’s not the German-based punk of bands like the ROSTOK VAMPIRES or TARNFARBE I was quite expecting *(those days are indeed long gone, and I full well, and quite proudly, admit to being a dinosaur), but by third attentive listen and processing of sounds, I declare CONFUSED a fairly decent band for the genre of punk in which they play. They’re not afraid to experiment, or drift outside genre, and MARAUD gives us an ear as to what’s going on elsewhere that we otherwise might not be aware of. Anthemic modern-day pop-punk, mostly mid-paced, catchy, solid vocals with lyrics we can all relate to in one way or another. Just, for my own personal tastes, a little too clean in its production. However, I love the album cover *(it’s a fairly accurate description of my mind at any given moment of time).
All in all, and after deep deliberation, for something a bit different, I suggest picking up the MARAUD album from Germany’s CONFUSED, and checking out their various corners of the net to get a taste of some decent, different, Post-Punk influenced punk rock from a land across the pond, and show some support.
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Vincent Daemon, writer, editor, musician, photgrapher, film/music buff and historian, and rabblerouser, can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/vincent.daemon.1 as well as his spontaneously updated blog of writing news and nonsense THE WRITINGS OF A DEPRAVED MIND http://vincentdaemon.blogspot.com/Some of his music can be painfully experienced at http://www.reverbnation.com/vincentdaemonsageofdesire3 His email is firstname.lastname@example.org