Angelika Köhlermann

Care

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    8
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In some respects, Angelika Köhlermann's Care seems like a throwback to the early-'90s era of four-track bedroom pop. In the age of inexpensive computers and freeware recording software, it's unusual to hear an album that sounds as, well, cheap as this one. With 25 tracks running 36 minutes, copious use of odd samples and snatches of conversation (in assorted Western European languages -- Köhlermann is from Austria), and poorly tuned instruments played in a simplistic manner, on its surface Care seems like hastily assembled first try from a musical dabbler. But then Care is quite moving in spite of it all, so one must conclude that the sloppy presentation is all part of a larger design. Given the prevailing aesthetic of childlike innocence, the fact that the record clatters about with only passing concern with conventional notions of "proper" music makes sense. Much of the music sounds as though it were performed on broken toy instruments, with all the tenderness and melancholy that implies. "Where You Are" has a plucked electric guitar, stone-age drum machine, and chorus of harmonized vocals shooting for Beach Boys territory but stalling out in an abandoned parking lot a few miles from the ocean. It sounds like a European's view of what the incidental music to an early-'60s advertisement for a small-town American car dealership might sound like. That is to say, wonderful. Köhlermann takes the listener on a sweet and occasionally eerie journey through an odd indie pop dream world.

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