The Sex Gang Children have been known in the Goth movement for over twenty five years. Led by the ludicrously named Andi Sexgang, they released a number of albums in their time together and since the band broke up initially in the mid eighties, Andi Sexgang has been ploughing his furrow as a solo artist or collaborator. In this album (the second of three new albums recorded by Andi in 2006) he is joined by Matthew Saw and DJ Ragnar. The album is an odd mixture starting with the long and peculiar opening track "The International Third Position" which mixes sirens, a drowsy beat and electro-static effects to generate a rather tense and eerie atmosphere – you almost expect a US sci-fi B movie from the 50s to show up. We then get a bit of narrative delivered by Andi who unfortunately pronounces his 'r's on this number a bit like Pilate addressing the crowd in the Monty Python film. Fwee Bawabus! "Celebrate" is a more straight ahead pop/rock 80s invocation with an anti-war theme evoking images of Margaret Thatcher's "rejoice, rejoice" speech during the Falklands War although you suspect the target here is Uncle Sam and Iraq.
"King Richard in the heartland" contains more of Andi's iconoclastic poetry, this time to a dirge like fuzzed bass arrangement with raking metallic electronic effects in the background. "Dust and Death" is a techno-sounding keyboard and bass/drum substrate for more anti-establishment lines. The song is revisited as a bonus track with less detail to the production and the more minimalist arrangement there carries the lyric better. The Gary Numan-like "Into the West" is followed by "Kamikaze Beauty" which continues the electronic-techno style of the earlier piece but the narrative vocals this time feature a 3 part conversational construction. "Rhineland Barbie" starts with lilting fairground-ride music with Andi crooning to the American icon. I think I preferred Dr Nerve tearing the head off the damn thing.
"Sick Kicks" drones out more messages of distorted reality and underbelly exposures before we get the only track sung in German – "Hasenschwanz". This is rather effective; somehow the guttural language is fitting for the overall theme of the album and it's a pity more songs were not delivered in their native tongue. The sleazy arrangement has an almost 30s Berlin cabaret feel to it. "Black Widow trial" is the second lengthy piece at 7 minutes and starts with a theramin-like electronic effect covered by Andi's enigmatic ramblings. The slow build never really gets off the ground though and the track peters out with little development. "Optidog" is something of a radio play mixing German and English in equally depressing tones which just about gets you to slashing your wrists at Andi's disenchanted lyrics replete with barking, howling dogs and coughing humanity. There's only so much of this stuff you can take.
1. The International Third Position
3. King Richard in the Heartland
4. Dust and Death
5. Into the West
6. Kamikaze Beauty
7. Rhineland Barbie
8. Sick Kicks
10. Black Widow Trial
11. Optidog (A Certain Kind of Silence)
12. Dust and Death (Edit Bonus)