The second album by the New York-based Alpine rock group Die Schlauberger starts off on the right foot with the absolutely rocking accordion instrumental "Solide Aim." It features solid electric guitar work by Thomas Staab, drumming by Kevin Barbitsch, and Robert Rom's commanding button box playing. Upon hearing that aggressive opening track one might wonder if this is the German equivalent of Steeleye Span or Horslips. That question is soon answered as most of the subsequent tracks are ordinary Alpine folk-pop pieces with occasional meager rock & roll arrangements. Their instrumental capabilities are impressive, but too often this band settles for clichéd German and Austrian folk adaptations of their music when they could have made a more forceful impact as displayed on the opening track. As it turns out, Die Schlauberger more closely resembles the "schlager" tendencies of Zillertaler Schürzenjäger and the camp of the Whole Shabang! than the rocking Horslips. That's not to disparage this band because it never claimed to be anything else. There are other notable pieces, like the Austrian bluegrass number "Fürstenfeld," with its tight vocal harmonies and country rhythm. The polka-rock beat of "Rock Mi" offers a welcome contrast to much of this album's predictability and the acoustic ballad "Und Kommt Der Morgen" concludes Total Kaos in uncharacteristically reflective fashion.
Total Kaos Review
by Dave Sleger