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Popnoname - Surrounded by Weather


Jens Uwe Beyer’s second LP on German label Italic shows a burgeoning talent for pop blossoming. Whilst the majority of the album has its feet firmly planted in the “German/Kompakt tech-house” category with its 4/4 beats and traditional textural structures, there are hints of some quite gorgeous melodies and compositional craft that shows that he could go far.

The album itself has a well-produced sheen that, like much of this “Indie House” genre (whoever made that up should be burnt alive) threatens to neuter whatever organic soul might have lurked beneath its exterior, but to Beyer’s credit he has a deft touch when it comes to composition that pushes aside these concerns. “The Movement” is all light pads and strings that anchor a vocal refrain, pushing the track along wistfully. I would say that the melancholic aspect of the Junior Boys is what comes to mind, but with a more forceful and upbeat aspect to it. Indeed Beyer is no stranger to the microphone, and unlike a lot of other vocalists in this genre, there’s a charm to his voice that serves this album well. “ID Card” in particular combines a delightful italo-like melody reinforced by a shoegazer-like sheen that reminded me of enigmatic British popster Stephen “Tintin” Duffy.

He’s not afraid to push out more abstract material either, especially on the dark and hypnotic “The Crack” which blossoms into something quite majestic near its climax. The album does fall off somewhat, with the last 3 tracks unfortunately failing to match the quality at the start, however this shouldn’t detract from what proved to be a fun, if somewhat disposable and unashamedly pop album and nothing else.

Toby Frith

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