"Boredom International" (Album, 2003)
The difficulty in introducing new people to the delights of The Galan Pixs arises pretty quickly, as no matter how hard I try to perfect my diction, everyone thinks I'm singing the praises of a band called "The Gay Olympics". From that point onwards I feel interminably hampered in my pitch. Still, those not unduly perplexed by the band's name - however one chooses to pronounce it - are normally amply rewarded. That is, until Boredom International.
By the standards set by their previous output, this is unquestionably their most commercially viable release to date. I hesitate to point out that label Motor is a Universal subsidiary, but I can't help thinking, rightly or wrongly, that this fact has had an impact on the final result. Nevertheless, amid the rocking guitars, there are some nuggets here worthy of your attention. First track title to catch my eye was Hey Little Girl. I wondered if that was a cover of the old Icehouse song. And, sure enough, it was. A sublime version it is too. Whist retaining the laid-back mood of the 80s original, they've managed to inject a driving beat to clever effect.
Then there's the cover of Thomas Dolby's Leipzig Is Calling You. This features the vocals of one Suize Q and, although I'm unfamiliar with the Dolby track, this is rocking entertainment. Then there's the latest version of The Galan Pixs' Crackerjack, itself a partial cover of the Alex J. Harvey 70s classic Faith Healer (also covered by Alan Wilder's Recoil project). The interpretation here is entirely in keeping with the mainstream majority of the album and therefore lacks the edge of earlier releases.
There are a few oases of unpredictability such as in the (aptly entitled) David Lynch, and Komakino. And whilst songs like Another Country - Another Name suggest that a more fertile middle ground might have been more rewardingly furrowed, the overall effect, in spite of the excellent production and stylish package design, is disappointingly underwhelming. 6/10
Rob Dyer (February, 2005)
"Crackerjack EP" (EP, 2000)
This limited edition EP was released to coincide with The Galan Pixs' mini UK tour during 2000. It was available (theoretically at least) only in the UK and not through records stores. With ten tracks (four of which are versions of the title track) totalling almost 50 minutes it represents a good value introduction to this German five piece.
Carving out a unique sound that blends the guitars of Nine Inch Nails with the compelling electronic rhythms of Front Line Assembly, The Galan Pixs have evolved somewhat since their holocaust in toyland debut single appeared in 1994. The crackerjack EP showcases the band's ability for strong song writing and hook lines and choruses that whilst retaining a subversive tone could propel them into the big league alongside the likes of NIN. However, to their credit, the band have flatly refused to be lured by the possibility of fame and fortune. When Flatline aimed at marketing The Galan Pixs as the new Rammstein, the band vowed not to go along with the idea, intent on retaining their musical integrity and total control over the direction of their career. They've since departed from the label.
The results are therefore as unpredictable as they are commercial, as they are underground. Trumpets overlay techno bleeps and dance beats on d.d. vaising (a track named after the band's drummer). Violin strings introduce throbbing wave beats before easing into trip hop-like percussion and melodic vocals and bass strings. At the other end of their musical spectrum, the ballsy crackerjack undergoes speedfreak drum 'n' bass treatment on the dmb remix. There's a low-key apoplexy remix of otaku from their debut LP pink film edition. Strings also open live and let die, whose neat breakbeat drums and stacatto violins and moving bass line make this sound like a David Arnold outtake from his recent Bond film work. The crackerjack EP spans the extremes of The Galan Pixs sound, moreover it shows that they are at the forefront of intelligent new music and deserve not only your attention but every success. 7/10
Official The Galan Pixs website: http://www.thegalanpixs.de