European artists that choose to sing in English, snubbing their native language, can sometimes seem something of a confused choice on occasion. Although that’s not always the impression, as we understand that it makes sense when you consider not only the UK marketplace, but more importantly the American one, but would their music not work in these countries if their native tongue was utilised? Sigur Ros even made an entirely new language up from scratch and it didn’t seem to harm their careers, causing us to ask if language even matters at all? English is the language of international business and widely spoken across the planet, so there is some sense to it, but we can’t imagine what it must be like for these foreign lyric writers. Thankfully their grasp of our language is more often than not entirely sufficient and fine, so nothing is lost in translation for the most part and an accented tweak, such as that found with Bjork, can be endearing and rather cute. Today we deliver a German duo who sing in English better than we ever could, delivering their words in a similarly affectionate manner, but so far their success has mostly been kept within the German borders, making their English selection something of an irrelevance. Until now that is.
Me And My Drummer are a duo that will suit the English market perfectly well and although we’re not the first to ever provide coverage on them, we hope today’s piece will earn them some new fans this side of the Channel. Considering they do indeed sing in English, it was something of an effort to research them, as so many of their online spaces were written out in German, with their initial coverage also being appraised via German websites. We understood their lyrics perfectly, but their biography was a little tougher to gather up details on. With one hand they gave, but with the other they took away, as we found it something of an effort, until we cracked out our Google translator that is, although to be fair that’s about as handy as asking your dog to tell your cat to be quiet and results in just as many confused looks. Thankfully we’re not reviewing websites, but music, so this German duo score very highly indeed, turning out some very tidy dramatic pop music with all the useful engineering that’s stereotypically applied to their native country.
The duo are Charlotte Brandi und Matze Pröllochs. They met whilst working at a theatre, making music for plays. It’s something that’s obviously filtered into their new compositions, with plenty of melodramatics and thespian-esque elements to their songs. They don’t so much as write to play music, more they write to perform it. Their ten-track album The Hawk, The Beak, The Prey is out on May 11th, but us English-speakers frustratingly actually have to wait until September 21st before it gets a release in the UK. The first single, and the song that’s gained most initial attention, is the excellent You’re A Runner. Rather enjoyably they master lyrics like it was their first language, singing raw and tender lines, such as “You’re a runner, why do you wanna kill yourself? Don’t confuse your speed with the turning of the earth“, but it’s Brandi’s clean voice that allows it to really get under your skin. She carries this soulful tune beautifully throughout, but her obvious strength doesn’t stop them allowing layered vocals to join her in a wonderfully smooth sediment. The song may well start out like the first person at the party in a large, open, empty space, but by it’s close it’s as if the layers add up to the party of the year – this isn’t so much Me And My Drummer, more like Me And My Army Of Drummers.
Why they’re so interested in highlighting their drummer is beyond us, but their tune, Down My Couch, actually begins with their moniker’s drummer seemingly taking the centre stage that they clearly want him to. As the song is tapped out Brandi sets the dramatics off, before a piano arrives as if it’s being hammered side of stage at a school play. It’s slightly odd, in that the only references we can summon up will involve amateur dramatics and children failing at their dance routines. It has an untidy sense of collapse about it, but it’s actually as charming as your kid forgetting his lines in his first nativity play. Here the words are tweaked as if channelling Liza Manelli, which we can imagine being delivered with jazz hands and over the top dance movements, showing us a singer that is happy to act out the songs as much as simply sing them, but rather than put you off it actually suits this style of music, as she embraces it and stuffs it full of confidence. It’s the kind of grand exhibitionist pop that may remind you of The Queen Of Hearts, Washington, or Nikki & The Dove.
We’re not entirely sure how English-language music is received when sung by Germans to a German audience, but perhaps it’s so standard to them that the crowd’s reaction would never be mirrored were an English musician ever to perform in German at a UK venue. The duo have thus far toured pretty extensively in their home country and earned coverage on mainstream radio stations, and although it seems like they’re yet to appear on a stage in the UK, they’re starting to earn coverage on air, as national radio stations such as BBC 6Music and Amazing Radio have begun to list their single. We imagine UK awareness will therefore soon begin to notice them more, as there’s no better conduit than writing decent, attractive songs. It’s also worth pointing out that when music is written this well then it could easily be sung in any language and it would still sound as sweet. At it’s core music is just sound and that transcends any human tongue. Music knows no boundaries, no borders, rather it travels unrestricted, but it’s also worth considering that their choice to sing in English will ensure their music enjoys the most comfortable of flights. (MB)
ME AND MY DRUMMER – YOU’RE A RUNNER
ME AND MY DRUMMER – DOWN MY COUCH