Following up his self-titled debut from 2008 with Powers of Audition, Jonas Reinhardt makes the full leap from appreciative re-creation toward putting his own stamp on compelling, synth-heavy atmospherics in a 1970s vein. Rather than tracing the path Manuel Göttsching took in Ash Ra Tempel, Reinhardt takes a reverse route on the opening "Atomic Bomb Living," thanks to blasting guitar heroics and drumming insanity, all serving a compelling groove that's neither lounge revival nor neo-Balearic chill. About the only point of immediate comparison might be Chrisma's "Black Silk Stocking" as an instrumental (though there might be buried vocals in there somewhere). As a whole, Powers of Audition almost feels like an alternate reality soundtrack to the original Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio series, with the combination of serenity, swooping synth whirs, and bubbling bass patterns on songs like "Only You Can Achieve Nitrogen" and "Orbiter Dicta" maintaining a happy-in-its-own universe logic for 2010 by imagining an ever-present 1978. The melodic hook of the latter song, helped further by the subtle reintroduction of live drumming, gets matched and then some by the return of full-on hip-shake action via the title track. It's almost a power pop version of everything on the album up to that point -- definitely reveling in its Motorik propulsion while at the same time flaunting a trebly quirk that's nagging in the best possible way.
Powers of Audition Review
by Ned Raggett