Bands containing exclamation marks in their names have experienced varying degrees of success over the years [think Wham!, Hadouken! and ¡Forward Russia!]. Thus, the up-and-coming German shoegaze quartet Audiocæneat! can expect a mixed reception from critics with regards to their sceptical use of superlative punctuation.

Likened by their record label to the Smashing Pumpkins and Sigur Rós, Audiocæneat! have been praised for their ‘catchy, cinematic and highly emotional’ sound. But despite satisfying the third criterion, Red Sessions – their first release – fails to scale the heavenly heights of a Sigur Rós record. In fact, it’s exceedingly more downbeat than upbeat and is moodier than a sullen infant whose toys have been thrown from the pram. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing: ‘stunning melodrama … mighty sad guitar lines’ said Sputnikmusic in an overwhelming acclamation.

Buh! (“boo” in German apparently) promises to surprise. Beginning with a heavy beat reminiscent of early Biffy Clyro, the encouraging opening fades disappointingly into obscurity. The Truth Unfolded I unveils dodgy rhythms and undistinguished guitar twangs: neither of which leave one craving a sequel. A bizarre voice-over narrative features on the introduction to Idyll – a sixteen minute journey through the archives of musical anonymity. Surely a song one-quarter of an hour in length must progress to tell a story?

On a positive note, Audiocæneat! are commended for their daring and inventiveness. Never is this better illustrated than in Kalypso, with changes in pace, tone and unintended patches of Bloc Party electro. From The Massives To The Masses exposes flickers of talent when an almighty riff featuring a hyperactive bass pedal banishes memories of the sombre introduction. Painting The Earth With Night Flares sporadically illuminates the overriding gloom with powerful bursts of guitar overdrive.

Overall, Red Sessions reeks of guitar distortion and experimental instrumentals, infrequently coupled with Oliver Saglitz and/or Hans Wenke’s whiny yet soothing vocals. Described by some as DIY, it’s true that Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen would be proud of it. The expression ‘more cobbled together than a Victorian road’ springs to mind also.

Comprising six songs and FIFTY minutes of predominantly inaccessible post-punk, Red Sessions belongs firmly rooted in the underground scene. Dreary stuff from the Dresden foursome, but their potential is as clear as daylight. Now go – shoot a large dose of serotonin!

Published by The Monograph.

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