Die Atlantikschwimmer

Reviews

Die Atlantikschwimmer Die Atlantikschwimmer 12” reissue

After their waxing of DIE ATLANTIKSCHWIMMER’s debut cassette, Static Age reissues the German group’s self-titled follow-up. Originally coming out in 1985 on the legendary Zickzack label, this Atlantic swimmer is even more streamlined than its predecessor. The water this combo wades in resists being roiled, hanging out instead in the placid end of the pool. You’ll find no lack of ponderous bass tones and thudding drum machines, occasionally spiced with pre-modern instruments like accordion. There is an intriguing frozen quality to DIE ATLANTIKSCHWIMMER’s impeccably produced songs; they flirt with pop structures but ultimately remain at a distance from mainstream aesthetics. Call it “Factory on the Rhine.” “Komm Mit Mir” repurposes a song from the debut and imparts the feeling of drifting along a canal as centuries-old buildings loom in the background. There is something undeniably romantic and—forgive this ugly American—European about DIE ATLANTIKSCHWIMMER; yet, the album doesn’t quite satisfy whatever foolish notions this listener harbors about a lost weekend in a far-off city. All deserted streets and darting shadows, the whispered, seductive menace of “Film Mit Überlänge” is closer to my idea of a good time in an unfamiliar locale. Keep the carriage ride, gimme the foot chase.

Die Atlantikschwimmer Kassetto Fix LP

Vinyl reissue of the 1983 demo cassette from the relatively unheralded Neue Deutsch Welle trio DIE ATLANTIKSCHWIMMER, who recorded an LP the following year for the Zickzack label (responsible for backing releases from German noisemakers ranging from EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN to ABWÄRTS to XMAL DEUTSCHLAND in the ’80s) before ultimately disbanding. That LP was essentially a Bavarian take on the bleak, monochromatic post-JOY DIVISION post-punk approach that was having a mid-’80s heyday among UK groups like the CHAMELEONS and the SOUND, and while that direction isn’t completely lost on the demo, there’s also a spiky, agitprop danceability that points to an affinity for GANG OF FOUR and any number of early Rough Trade singles, especially in dryly shouted vocals and snap-tight rhythms of “Warten” and “Abendvorstellung.” Even the more characteristically gloomy new wave moments here are given a spark from roughed-up demo presentation, which honestly elevates Kassetto Fix above the band’s solid subsequent full-length. Yet another choice Static Age-guided dig through Euro post-punk history, get in on it.