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September 28, 2011

Leaether Strip – “Untold Stories” Out on Oct-01! Viva Music Album Review

This album has been in my head for many years, and after completing the somewhat aggressive Klutae album “Electro Punks Unite”, I really felt it was time to dig for my roots and to really embrace my melancholic and melodic side more than I have done over the years. The Songs have a very retro electronic sound that most of my listeners knows I love, and on most of the songs you will hear me actually sing like the good boy I also have deep inside. It was a hard job to dig him out.” (Claus Larsen)

Tracklist: Leaether Strip – “Untold Stories – The Melancholic Sessions”: “Reunited with My Bitterness” * “Listen to the Children Pray” * “Blind Man’s Buff” * “Untold Stories” * “True Glory – False Heroes” * “Ever Changing Landscapes” * “Love Is Dead” * “Connubialis” * “Giants” * “I Feel No Shame” * “Silver Mist” * “I Am Him – He Is Me” * “The Queen of the Dusk” * “For the Ones We Lost” | “CD-rom Number One”: “Hate Me 2011” * “Budapaest Noir” * “Unerzaehlte Geschichten feat. Rummelsnuff” * “Leaether Strip and Rummelsnuff – Vollnarkose” * “Reunited with My Bitterness – Club Mix by Psychopomps” * “The End of the Road – Final Words Mix by Front Line Assembly” * “Reunited with My Bitterness – Endless Dark Mix by Why the Misery” * “Listen to the Children Pray – Gospel Mix by Implant” * “Reunited with My Bitterness – Nu retro Rmx by Implant” * “Listen to the Children PrayBitch Slap Mix by Decoded Feedback” * “Listen to the Children PrayRobotiko Rejekto Remix” * “Bonus Track – Reunited with My Bitterness – Deadboy Mix by Decoded Feedback” * “Bonus Track – Reunited with My Bitterness – UCNX Remix

Other Leaether Strip news on darkwave.ro: Leaether Strip at Amphi Festival 2011 (review) | Leaether Strip at Amphi Festival 2011 (photo gallery) | Leaether Strip at E-tropolis Festival 2010 (review) | Leaether Strip at E-tropolis Festival 2010 (photo gallery)

Leaether Strip “Untold Stories – The Melancholic Sessions” – Viva Music Review:

Self-released on Oct-01, the new material from stage and studio veteran Leaether Strip is a must of the season. “I love and need the direct contact with the listeners and sure I know I will not have a big distributor behind me but to have this contact is more important for me than sales, yes it sounds cheesy , but that’s how I feel.” says Claus Larsen, and we have to agree – this is a step that reduces at the same time the tiresome discussions about how much technology brings us together and rips us apart, and the unwanted hiatus that listeners might feel when not being able to be in contact with the artists they cherish.“Untold Stories – The Melancholic Sessions” is an amazing listen, and definitely one of the most creative and intriguing things we are going to listen to until the end of the year. The impression their album gives is one of plenitude and reassurance, with a mist of cockiness and a solid base of imaginative musicianship. A maverick album of sorts, “Untold Stories – The Melancholic Sessions” is, in Claus Larsen‘s own words, retro electro – the concept itself rhymes and slides – so does the album, listen to it and you will be proud to be able to present to your friends one hell of a music find.

In itself a demanding release – think for instance of the time you need to devote to listening it all – “Untold Stories – The Melancholic Sessions” makes up for this demand by providing an excellent, accurate and continuous experience. It all starts with a title worth of your attention, “Reunited with My Bitterness” – and well worth of anyone’s attention, if we are to credit the numerous reworks of the track. And we should: “Reunited with My Bitterness – Club Mix by Psychopomps”, “Reunited with My Bitterness – Endless Dark Mix by Why the Misery”, “Reunited with My Bitterness – Nu retro Rmx by Implant”, “Bonus Track – Reunited with My Bitterness – Deadboy Mix by Decoded Feedback” and “Bonus Track – Reunited with My Bitterness – UCNX Remix” – no less than five versions of the track are provided in the cunning “CD-rom Number One” and frankly, they are the real deal, they cast a new light on the core track and offer an exquisite listen. Of equal importance, and with a clear voice of its own, “Listen to the Children Pray” vies with the previous opening track in the number of reworks: “Listen to the Children Pray – Gospel Mix by Implant”, “Listen to the Children PrayBitch Slap Mix by Decoded Feedback”, “Listen to the Children PrayRobotiko Rejekto Remix”. While the melancholy of “Reunited with My Bitterness” is of a personal nature, the one seething through “Listen to the Children Pray” is gently more universal and more ineffable.

Blind Man’s Bluff” is a truly divine composition, and the ensuing “Untold Stories”, a Viva Music favorite and also the track that gives the album name, is a heartfelt march through the wilderness, musically kept to a minimum but intense due to the lyrical content. And it seems that “Untold Stories”, a Leaether Strip tease of intense emotions, opens a Pandora’s box of vying concepts: “True Glory – False Heroes” and its ruthless encasement of human vanity, as well as the hurling forward escalations of “Ever Changing Landscapes” pertain to a very solid musical vein, that at the same time attracts and anguishes, in a carefully devised mix of childish and adultish ephmerals.

And it does not stop here: the elegant verse and musical emotion poured in “Love Is Dead” is mesmerizing, and a gem of a song is born with each and every note of this electronic elegy. Just as powerful and having their listeners at the word go, “Connubialis” (“Conjugal”, Latin) continues the deal with powerful, enigmatic and sound. And then, as “Giants” is elegantly and somewhat energetically ushered in, you know this album will never reach a plateau of routine, because of its diversity – a mirroring in intense shadows of human nature itself. “Silver Mist” should not be missed! We will leave no clue about it, but it sounds just perfect.

We liked the emblematic, power-driven “I Feel No Shame”. It is a true reminder of the boundaries we set at times ourselves against our nature, or our disposition, and it is musically rendered as a great anthem with a plus value of zest and determination. Likely to fulfill our wish to never end this album, there are three more tracks just on the first disc! And how good they sound! A literal love song, as if captured in various snapshots of the times and places of the body and the mind, “I Am Him – He Is Me” is a particular electronica epitome, and a very classy and classical piece. Absolutely adorable. Of equal cadence and musical opulence, “The Queen of the Dusk” is gentle as the breeze and sharp as a serpent’s tooth, and the final track, “For the Ones We Lost” assumes its memorial value while brandishing an elegiac sword against the grain of life. Truly majestic, this final track, with its instrumental introspection and its very appetizing conclusion, makes you want to listen to the album over and over again.

Of equal importance are the tracks included on the second disc of the release, namely “CD-rom Number One” – minus the remixes of the first and second track of the first disc (“Reunited with My Bitterness” and “Listen to the Children Pray”), which we wrote about in the first part of the review, the disc can be thought of as an analgesic scoop – there is no pain and no restraint of freedom in it. Just like the many collaborations from the remixes, the artists who joined their creative sensuousness into the project (among others: Rummelsnuff, Front Line Assembly, Implant, Decoded Feedback), Leaether Strip pushes in some serious work into the creation (or re-creation, for that matter) of a serious load. It jerks forward with the rework of their 1997 “Hate Me!” and oozes, still forward and still walking a thin line with “Budapaest Noir” – a track that really would serve novices to the music of Leaether Strip to induce them into this magic world of sounds. Even the German-titled “Unerzaehlte Geschichten feat. Rummelsnuff” – basically the same great track we’ve witnessed on the first disc, plus some major musical vines snapping against a solid body of work – seems in its procession even more majestic and overpowering. And then with the full anesthesia performed by the same invincible duo of Leaether Strip and Rummelsnuff, “Leaether Strip and Rummelsnuff – Vollnarkose” seems to take on so much of the world’s grief and dilute it in the flavorful mouthful of words that need to take flight from the pained body. Even the listener seems to be exorcised after listening to the track and that is due to the safe and sound ritual of dance this track implies in its deepest fiber. Note should also be made of “The End of the Road – Final Words Mix by Front Line Assembly”, and the untold stories should not end here, not at all.

A great exercise in musical combinations that seem to be known to the listener not from the scene, but from their innermost contact with love, fear, intimation, solitude, happiness, hate, resignation. And this is a rare feat for any artist, but Leaether Strip does it so incredibly good. Enjoy!

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