[dropcap]Max[/dropcap] Gruber’s project Drangsal is one of the best new bands to come out on the indie branch a major label (Caroline records) in quite a long time, and the album’s two singles Allan Align and Love Me Or Leave Me Alone were a strong first glimpse of what was to follow on Drangsal’s debut LP Harieschaim.
Post-Punk and Wave, reminiscent of The Smiths, Scars, The Cure or early U2 sometimes, enriched with some strong traits of Pop, solemn and with a very pleasing bigger than life-attitude, underlined by the use of choirs (Allan Align, Do The Dominance), sometimes a saxophone, on the excellent Will Ich Nur Dich (the only German song on the album), and a lot of jangly guitars and reverb.
What suspiciously sounds like a description of The Smiths, putting the German song aside, is very close to their spirit. It’s youthful, swinging and forward-pushing. Drangsal aims for the younger audience and manages to ensnare them, being completely devoid of the stale Dad Rock atmosphere contained in the style many retro-driven Post Punk acts. It’s nice that Drangsal don’t even bother to create the aura of an underground atmosphere for the sake of pandering “art”; It’s not trying to sell off mediocre, overly long jams as eerie and experimental. It’s hard to write a “Pop Record”, but Max Gruber makes it look easy.
The inevitable 80s Post Punk and Wave spirit is always present on this record—and Drangsal’s take on it is a delightfully unpretentious one. It is very Pop, in a way The Smiths or The Cure made Pop music, focusing on songs instead of an attitude, and that makes Harieschaim a real standout this year, one that actually lives up to the hype around it.
To find out more about the interesting character behind Drangsal, watch our interview with Max Gruber above.