Between the solo artist tag and the unassuming cover art it's easy to assume that Nahaufnahme is another tame Euro-rock affair, but in fact it is a pretty intense record -- almost emo at times. Don't think Tokio Hotel, though -- it's closer to old-school, pre-charts emo, only it trades jangly guitar lines for smooth power chords, while keeping the intense atmosphere and the vocal drama. The streamlined approach actually helps drive the point home -- the tunes are pleasant without being sleazy, emotional but not angsty, and sport a huge sound that is the upside of mainstream production (no reedy guitar treble here). The emo similarities are definitely unintentional: some songs blatantly channel Smashing Pumpkins, others are close to less inventive Avril Lavigne, and elsewhere, the ears really stick out -- Christina Stürmer is actually an heir to '80s Deutsch pop/rock star Nena, she of "99 Luftballons" fame. Nahaufnahme sports no hits of comparable size -- hooks aren't its main selling point, all in all, with quite a few listens required before that refrain to "Wir Leben den Moment" finally roots in the memory enough to cause spontaneous humming. But on the upside, the record has an identity -- it may be too serious, even gloomy for a quick pop listen, but not every musical relationship has to be a casual fling: while Nahaufnahme takes more time to appreciate, it is also more rewarding, working more like a cohesive record than a set of aural gum sticks. Not a game-changer, sure -- gotta be either more catchy or more dramatic for that -- but sure a worthwhile listen one step above the regular Euro-rock fare.
by Alexey Eremenko