I should have expected experimental music from one of the Einsturzende Neubauten band members, but still, the opening track â€œMinnie & Meâ€ shocked me at the first go around. The vaguely-tribal, ghostly vocals present on that track cannot be anything but disjointed, and I almost feel as if Hackeâ€™s purpose with this track is provide a disjointed viewpoint. The second track, â€œSisterâ€ is just the incorporation of Bon Jovi-esque guitar liens over top of a womanâ€™s self-defense movie from the seventies, in what turns out to be a hot, pseudo-dance track. The first few tracks together do not weigh up chronologically to the discâ€™s first epic, the very guitar-influenced and almost-industrial â€œSanctuaryâ€. Some of the arrangements begin to show some wear after theyâ€™ve been repeated for over a minute, but after the vocals start up (only six minutes in!), a Nine Inch Nails-esque feel is given to the track. Different sections dominate the trackâ€™s landscape, and it is through these sections that the listener can actually get an idea on the mental workings of Hacke.
The atmosphere of the disc takes a much darker tone during â€œYours Trulyâ€, where a balloon-releasing-air like horn dominates the track, which itself has a very circus-like atmosphere. To be honest, â€œSevenâ€ maintains much of this same sound, but Hackeâ€™s vocals boom throughout the track, almost as if he is being amplified, a person that stands above the track. A White Zombie/Ministry-like industrial rock is the fare pandered on â€œSevenâ€, which uses solid, straight-forward guitars to rein in the increasingly-chaotic drums on the track. The female vocals on â€œPer Sempre Butterflyâ€, reminiscent of Diamanda Galas give â€œSanctuaryâ€ an emotion that has been largely deficient among the cold metal constructs of Hacke. In a masterful fit of naming, â€œAll American Happy Hourâ€ has those flourishes that screaming American â€“ the surfer-esque guitars, those Janet Jackson-like samples, all subserviated to the John Wayne-like vocals found on the track. The second epic of the disc, â€œSugarpieâ€ is much more seductive and sultry than anything on the disc. Gone are the brash sounds of prior tracks, replaced with a much more low-key bassy synthesizer and ample quotes from movies long forgot. Hackeâ€™s guest stars get into a groove that cannot be stopped mid-track, and it is this that really pushes the disc to its inevitable conclusion, instead of the â€œtrueâ€ ending track. â€œSanctuaryâ€ is a messed-up album, but has a surprising cohesion amongst the tracks that really makes it endearing.
Top Tracks: Sanctuary, Sugarpie
Alexander Hacke â€“ Sanctuary / 2005 Koolarrow / 11 Tracks / http://www.koolarrow.com / Reviewed 02 April 2005