Sacre Bleu! Steven Jones + Logan Sky Release “Hans + Lieselotte” Just 4 Months After “Corrupt State”

[L-R] Logan Sky and Steven Jones pictured at the Estonian point of origin of their new album

I certainly did not expect this one coming so swiftly on the heels of “Corrupt State,” by Steven Jones + Logan Sky, one of my favorite releases of last year, but just four months later and we already have a new album to consider. Apparently, when in Tallein, Estonia late last year, the duo had an evening where their table side dinner banter sparked many “song title events” where the awkward syntax and Eurovibe redolent of bits and pieces of the conversation conspired to make them stick in the cranium. Afterward, the notion occurred to them; why not make these songs titles whole in the world? So they returned home to the UK and blew through the writing and recording of the ten songs here in just a week. A few weeks later, it’s out there for all of us. They couldn’t wait. Why should we?

Etrangers Musique | UK | CD | 2018

Steven Jones + Logan Sky: Hans + Lieselotte UK CD [2017]

  1. Lieselotte Is Not An Object
  2. Girls Like It From Above
  3. Syria
  4. Oysters Without You
  5. Logan Loves It
  6. Waiting For The Evening
  7. A Packet Of Something
  8. My Obscurity
  9. Let’s Talk India
  10. Peppersack
  11. Lieselotte Is Not An Object [extended version]
  12. Lieselotte Is Not An Object [Man Parrish remix]
  13. Lieselotte Is Not An Object [Man Parrish alternative mix]

The album got off to a bang with the lead single, “Lieselotte Is Not An Object,” exuding the fevered hint of glorious mid-period Cab Volt accented with more than a hint of DAF’s proto-EBM. The spheric, analog pulsations were then accentuated with the occasional string patch while vocalist Jones, in the throes of erotic fixation, then proceeded to do nothing but objectify the titular Lieselotte for the duration of the song. It certainly hits the sweat spot for crepuscular club electro. Listen, below.

Following hot on the heels of that opener, was the even more unsavory “Girls Like It From Above” which built on a similar tempo to the preceding song. In fact, the first time I heard the album, I thought that the beat dropped out with the song picking back up with a mutated beat at the same tempo, but it was in fact the next song. The vinyl-clad number smoldered for an impressive 6:13 while seeming far fleeter than that. Again, the contrails of minor key string patches entering the sound at high altitudes set the cinematic mood. And the mood here called for no less than Mickey Rourke in all of his eighties pomp.

Just when things could not get sleazier without crossing a certain line in the sand, the methodical “Syria” crossed a different line in the sands to revisit the political themes of Jones + Sky’s last release; albeit one which maintained a sonic continuity with the precedents set thus far on “Hans + Lieselotte.” Throbbing synth bass lines anchored this one just like the others thus far but the lead line here pointed to slightly earlier Cab Volt periods… think “Yashar” with more confrontational lyric structure instead of cut-up aesthetics.

Then the album doubled back on its beginning again with the intentionally overloaded scenario of “Oysters Without You.”  This one does cross a line, and that line is marked “witty, self-deprecating humor.” After a fevered intro, again revisiting the glorious technofunk of mid-period Cabaret Voltaire, the setup for the punchline wears its Martin Gore-Tex® with a straight face, but as singer Jones outlines this lament… he has committed the grievous error of ordering a meal notorious for its aphrodisiacal effect while his paramour has left him high and dry, the spoken word elements of the song show Jones winking at the camera until the song’s climax.

That’s when he lays it on with a trowel as Logan Sky’s obscenely bubbling synths do everything in your power to make you crack a smile if not actual guffaws. The ad libs at the end, where by that time Jones had to laugh too, show that this band were certainly not above satirizing their own traits with this witty Electroclash parody. That it does so with a song that still stays put in my head for hours shows that their craftsmanship doesn’t take a back seat to their willingness to stray from expectation to revel their sense of humor.

Following the sprightly instrumental “Logan Likes It,” what would be “side two” of the album varies its attack less dark cabaret electro and more left field experimentation. “Waiting For The Evening” treads down the band’s familiar path of mid-period Depeche Mode with a minimal ballad that would be flatmates with “Little 15,” but this time with lyrics one could listen to in 2018 without feeling uncomfortable.

“A Packet Of Something” shows Sky revisiting his penchant for Carpenterian soundscapes that stray from the club friendly sound thus far to a more abstract zone. One that indeed, fit the deeply introspective lyrics finding Jones delving into Jungian themes for some self-analysis of his shadow motivations. This echoed the mystical themes of “The Bardo Of Becoming” from their “Maria” EP that I opined that I’d like to see Jones pursuing further, so this more than fit that bill.

The album took a wild leap outside of the box with the travelogue piece “Let’s Talk India,” where Jones tells the tale of his first trip to India over a minimal tabla beat with scant melodic counterpoint at just the right moments from Sky. While Jones has a penchant for peppering his work with spoken as well as sung passages, this assumed a very conversational tone apart from the earlier spoken word bits.

Finally, the rambling “side two” closed with the second instrumental, “Peppersack.” This one came on like a continuation of the crystalline, European approach of “Oberkorn [It’s A Small Town]” as if Wendy Carlos had guested on the portentous, curdled lead synths. Then the album’s coda kicked in with a pair of remixes from Man Parrish, one of the old school Electro pioneers . The Man Parrish remix of the title track recast the tune as a four-to-the-floor European model sports car with all of the glitch elements that the original had smoothed down for higher velocity. This took the vibe from Cab Volt to Japan on the spectrum. His Alternative mix almost dispensed with the song in its entirety to instead pursue the nooks and crannies of a freeform dub of the tune with liberal amounts of the Rocky Horror soundtrack’s DNA re-injected back into the beast as the heavily vocoded spoken word vocal performances which reeked of Riff Raff and Magenta from that film, at least in tone. Perhaps they were the titular “Hans + Liselotte?” The camp value here was almost to the breaking point [the song “Liza With A ‘Z'” was invoked] but Parrish wisely refused to slam the accelerator pedal all the way down.


Jones + Sky are apparently on fire creatively these days with a steady stream of music flowing forth. Jones had said recently that they would be releasing many EPs but the last two were actual albums, that see the band moving away from their cassette tape aesthetic to make CDs in addition to downloads. This time there are 200 copies of the “Hans + Liselotte” CD in the band’s Bandcamp store available for the modest price of £6 with the DL coming in at £4. I found it inspiring that they let their impulses flow freely and took this album from an evening’s effervescent conversation to a concrete album at a rapid pace. Their willingness to follow their muse, no matter where it sprawlingly led them, and report back with their findings shows that they are currently in rude health… especially on the first two tracks.

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About postpunkmonk

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4 Responses to Sacre Bleu! Steven Jones + Logan Sky Release “Hans + Lieselotte” Just 4 Months After “Corrupt State”

  1. Echorich says:

    I love the immediacy of this album. The electro-disco of the Man Parrish remix of Liesselotte Is Not An Object is a new classic!

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – It couldn’t get any more immediate. Steven Jones said that they were in Estonia last November and came home and wrote/recorded/mixed the album in a week. Also in November. They held off releasing it immediately due to Christmas. It probably took longer to have it designed and replicated!

      Like

      • Echorich says:

        It’s a pretty stunning album. They take up the mantle of Visage and even Depeche Mode in the new Millennium.

        Like

        • postpunkmonk says:

          Echorich – They have the mojo moving forward; definitely. Their emergent sense of humor makes them even more attractive and still, their thematic wildcard is the metaphysical/psychological leanings of Steven Jones; who is a yoga instructor when not fronting this and other synth acts. You have to love the paradox! I normally associate bands who invoke the Tibetan Book Of The Dead with something Neil from the Young Ones would listen to. You pop those sentiments down in the middle of a synth duo and you are in uncharted waters, my friend! And they can still deliver dark clubby anthems at the same time! I have to admit, I’d like to hear what a hot bass player could add to their mix, but only if it didn’t upset their incredible chemistry, which is really something.

          Like

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