Over the past decade or so, one of Germany’s best musical exports has
been the soft but lively electronic-organic fusion purveyed by bands like The
Notwist, Ms. John Soda, and Lali Puna. The latter, whose members include The
Notwist’s Markus Acher, has released an excellent new LP of polished loops and
skittering beats that quietly simmers with enchanting intensity.
Vocalist Valerie Trebeljahr’s lyrics are buried in the mix,
as the band utilizes her voice less as a centerpiece and more as another
element upon which to build their low-key, atmospheric pop. “Everything is
Always,” for example, takes a recognizable drum and bass rhythm, albeit
deconstructed and minimized, and patiently builds layers of synthesizers over
it into a lovely swirl of subdued tones. On this album, as on the band’s past
work, Lali Puna chooses subtle musical flourishes over grand gestures,
carefully constructing its songs.
This type of music could easily become boring or clinical,
but Lali Puna manages to infuse its songs with a measure of warmth. The band
never lets its use of loops or dance music conventions usurp its main intent,
which seems to be precisely constructing experimental but accessible pop music.
In this, Lali Puna is extremely successful.
Standout Tracks: “Remember,”
“Everything is Always” JONAH FLICKER