Reviews

Familie Hesselbach Familie Hesselbach LP reissue

A South German private press post-punk curio from 1982 that failed to capitalize on any sort of Neue Deutsche Welle hype at the time of its original release, but the underground reissue industry is thriving in the 21st century and we haven’t run out of petroleum yet so now here we are again. The repeated mentions of FAMILIE HESSELBACH having been “the German TALKING HEADS” strike me as a little strange—there’s some surface-level parallels between the two groups, namely a reliance on rubber-band bass snap to guide anxious, funk-influenced rhythms, although if anything, FAMILIE HESSELBACH seem to have pulled those elements from UK-based primary sources (the taut, scratchy groove-agitation of both GANG OF FOUR and A CERTAIN RATIO would be high on the list). Some skronking horns and inside-out disco beats do point to a certain New York influence, but it’s one drawn from the No Wave universe of bands like the CONTORTIONS that never even remotely included the TALKING HEADS, and the vocals (in both German and Italian) are frequently delivered in an urgent, clipped bark in stark opposition to David Byrne’s buttoned-up poindexter yelp. Most of Familie Hesselbach’s seventeen tracks are around two minutes or less each, just ping-ponging from one idea to another with the sort of econo-minded attention span of the scrappiest DIY outfits, but executed with the necessary tightness and control required to translate to the post-punk dancefloor. Won’t completely burn down the haus, but some flames are still sparked.