No Secrets in the Family


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You will get diverging opinions about Kleinzeit. Some people say it is No Secrets in the Family's finest; others condemn it as their worst. And truth be told, both camps are right. Simply put, the Schönholzers went overboard on this album, an adaptation of Russell Hoban's novel Kleinzeit, itself a very strange story about hospitals, love, pain, and medical devices. The songwriting is definitely a few steps higher in terms of complexity and experimentation, something Rock in Opposition fans will appreciate (particularly fans of News from Babel, although not for the vocals). On the other hand, the album misses the unbridled humor found on Play & Strange Laughter. Despite a lot of quirks and fun passages, Kleinzeit is serious business and, because of that and its duration (67 minutes), it gets slightly tedious. The previous albums were immediately likable, with one intelligent pun after another, and strange but catchy melodies. Kleinzeit requires a lot more getting used to, and even then you might very well find it too dense to appreciate beyond a strictly intellectual level. Despite these flaws, it remains a fine effort, and it is better recorded than No Secrets in the Family's other albums. Keyboardist Annette and guitarist Markus Schönholzer share vocals throughout. Bassist Moritz Rüdisüli also adds guitar and violin, while drummer Martin Gantenbein also plays a bit of flute. Guests include multi-reedist Urs Blöchlinger and the Work's Bill Gilonis. Difficult, long, and a bit cumbersome, Kleinzeit is either a brilliant conceptual album or a sin of grandeur, depending on what you are looking for in the music of this fine Swiss group.

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