Ich + Ich faced sky-high expectations with the release of their third full-length effort, Gute Reise, a much-anticipated album released in the wake of the tremendous chart-topping lead single "Pflaster." Another well-crafted effort by the duo, Gute Reise boasts several excellent songs and should satisfy fans, but it doesn't quite measure up to its predecessor, Vom Selben Stern (2007), which had more impressive highlights and a fresher sound. Lead singer Adel Tawil and veteran producer Annette Humpe were still proving themselves with Vom Selben Stern. Their eponymous debut album from 2005 had been a hit, reaching the Top Ten and spawning a couple smash hits with "Du Erinnerst Mich an Liebe" and "Dienen," but it wasn't until their second album, Vom Selben Stern, that they truly established themselves as one of Germany's best pop acts. Ich + Ich could have made another album like Vom Selben Stern, but they changed their style a little bit on Gute Reise. On much of the album, the cutting-edge urban beats of the past couple albums are toned down in favor of a refined pop style without any sharp edges. "Pflaster" is the exception. It kicks off the album with a punchy beat and is the most powerful song on the album. Subsequent songs are far less propulsive. Make no mistake, there are still several excellent songs to be found on Gute Reise, including the second- and third-sequenced songs, "Einer von Zweien" and "Universum," plus the album's last two songs, "Alleine Tanzen" and "Yasmine," the latter featuring Egyptian legend Mohammed Mounir. Moreover, some of them are beat-driven, most notably the aforementioned "Einer von Zweien" and the haunting "Die Lebenden und die Toten," the latter one of two featuring Humpe on lead vocals. Unfortunately, nothing else on Gute Reise comes close to rivaling "Pflaster" in terms of energy or excitement. In fact, the downtempo pop style of Ich + Ich on Gute Reise is sometimes reminiscent of Rosenstolz. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Rosenstolz make good music, but they've been around for a long time and appeal to an older crowd. Ich + Ich, on the other hand, are only on their third album and are fronted by the 31-year-old Tawil. They shouldn't sound this tired yet. Hopefully they can liven up a bit on their next album.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier