What do you get when you take David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Depeche Mode, Falco, Ultravox, Tears for Fears, and Devo, throw them into a heap, mash them all together, and then begin to form songs out of the pile of musicianship on the floor? You get Von Konow’s debut solo album ‘Lieder‘ (translated from German to mean ‘Songs’). Spending the brunt of his time between Finland and Portugal, Von Knonow uses this fairly morose album of eighties-style synth, and pop, to dig deep into the ups and downs of his travels. This collection of ‘Songs’ is something else.
A rather fragmented album indeed, the through line is clearly focused in the style of the music, and not so much the lyrical content. Pulling from many experiences, and moments of his life, Von Konow really does attack this album with a lyrical slurry. Make no mistake however: this collection of lyrical listlessness is holds very true to life all the same – life so full of contradicting, and opposing moments.
Musically, the synth strings, and trumpets are a bit much of a throwback (which is saying a lot considering the entire album could be said to belong to the eighties, and no one would, in any way question such a statement), especially since incredibly realistic synth instruments are available for next to nothing these days. However, likely as a means to hold entirely true in commitment to the era in which the album seems to truly reside, Von Konow has insisted on utilizing the most obviously synthetic instruments on the market. Sad to this journalist, but a musician’s intention is something that can never truly be fucked with, nor entirely understood (perhaps even by the musicians themselves sometimes).
There is some exquisite guitar playing, with some sweet squealing played either by Timo Vikkula, or Tommi Pietiläinen…or perhaps the solo work is traded off in partnership. Either way, there are some fantastic moments that truly put a smile on my face. The synth work, in spite of the instruments I profess to dislike so much in the album, are absolutely matched to that of the eighties, in a way that I thought impossible to really replicate again. How in touch this album is with a different time is staggering.
I do ‘Want‘ to point out, however, that this specific track is, at times, perhaps the greatest departure from that era; fitted more to a sort of “dream pop” or whatever the hell the kids are calling it these days. The vocals, though, are entirely reminiscent of that decadent and dastardly decade we have all continued to love in one sense or another: the eighties.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for a taste of the old school, while listening to something technically new school, then do by all means check out this unique album right HERE.