In a year of new albums from Beach House, Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors, we get this…
2012, The End Records
1.0 / 10.0
The Dandy Warhols’ Courtney Taylor-Taylor has created himself (notice how I didn’t indicate “listeners”) a new concept album revolving around a fictitious German band known as One Model Nation. The new album is accompanied by a graphic novel because the story is SO big that it cannot be contained or simplified in its musical format. I’ll even venture that you’d lose the concept of the album without the accompanying graphic novel (which I didn’t read). Here’s a synopsis (excerpt) of the story.
ONE MODEL NATION – the band. Germany, 1977 – the economic miracle is at hand. An entire generation that has grown up with the shame of World War II embraces western culture as capitalism begins to take root. Underneath the veneer of the financial prosperity, the country is still shattered from the devastation of war. A radical segment of the youth fight back against a repressed nation. Their only figurehead of this violent, well dressed revolution is a band soon to be forever lost in time; ONE MODEL NATION.
This is only part of the story. I have spent the better part of 10 years examining the mysterious group of talented young musicians known as ONE MODEL NATION. They were the voice of a generation. The first German group to appear on the UK music charts.
See, this is not really an album (in the sense that it should be viewed as a serious effort). No, this is just entertainment; a little story that Courtney Taylor-Taylor put together in his head. It’s not capable of being reviewed because of such. However, Mr. Taylor-Taylor, you’re not getting off that easy. Let’s say that I want to view Totalwerks Vol. 1 as a “real” album by a “real” project known as One Model Nation. How would I critique it? Well, as a piece that boasts rebellion against an oppressor, I would say that it surprisingly conforms. To being crap.
Mostly based in Krautrock (for authenticity) and noisy distortion, there’s nothing particularly exciting about Totalwerks Vol. 1. The album is often vocally messy and indecipherable, performed in seemingly spoken word form through filter upon filter until it’s an electronic gargle. When the vocals are easy to pick out, they’re beyond cheesy, sticking to a valley girl accent (“Mission To Mars”). Gag me with a spoon.
The music is no better, smelling just as ripe with its ‘80s style sound that doesn’t pull from John Hughes’ films as often cited with other ’80s inspired artists. No, One Model Nation would best soundtrack Revenge of the Nerds. Constructed with electronic drums, skittering beats, and not much else in its eleven tracks, the album becomes a battle of patience for the listener, and I had to keep myself from tapping out repeatedly. You’re telling me this album deserves a fully story? The only plot it really needs is in the cemetery. The only thing scarier about this album is that it’s titled Volume 1. Fingers crossed that we don’t see a One Model Nation Totalwerks Volume 2.