The Antikaroshi


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Eclectic to a fault, German trio the Antikaroshi approach their albums like scrupulously strategized Dada events, combining disparate musical styles and peculiar cultural touchstones with the wide-angle lens common to improvisers who still like to take notes before diving off the ledge. This agenda produced a rewardingly labyrinthine experience on the group's 2009 debut, Crushed Neocons, and resumes apace on its successor, per/son/alien, two years later, but with notably mellower, and certainly more fluid results. Key offerings like "Bernays" (written about Sigmund Freud's nephew?), "Ruhleder," and especially "Quandt" take a turn toward the introspective, assisted by much improved vocals, which had been the only major letdown on the group's previous album. Then there are more familiar, Jesus Lizard-inspired odd-rock efforts typical of that first LP, revisited here in consistently engaging fashion by shuddering, shivering numbers such as "Retep," "Eric," and "Deitenbeck." Finally come the weirder experiments, including "Josef," which tiptoes between self-defeating angst and bright, optimistic melodies; "Jacek i Placek," which duly mutates from an intriguing sound collage into an alien-sung rhythmic leapfrog; "Achilles," which interrupts its extended indie rock vamps for a jazzy saxophone break; and the closing fragment "Azazel," which leaves things seemingly dangling off the cliff of future possibilities. Surely that's precisely as the Antikaroshi intended it, most likely because they themselves will only figure out where their music is going the next time they enter a studio, whether they like to keep notes or not.

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