Serious fun to be had here, sock puppets and all. Der Plan’s slick cabaret of strangeness is all over the place, eerie cinematics jutting up against cheesy trips to the German equivalent of Blackpool amusements. Take an eyeful of that gaudy cover for Die Letzte Rache and you instantly know boredom is gonna be in short supply – that plasticined comicbook aesthetic, the singing eels. Yep, this is caps lock fun all the way, given a Jamie Reid ransom style make over. Symptomatic of the time (a definite golden age in my ears), ’80s post-punk Deutschland seemed to be falling over itself with this sort of shenanigans , almost as if the Soviets were popping something into the water back then. I can just imagine those KGB kingpins scratching their heads as Cold War attempts at western instability bounced bizarrely awry.Loving those helium voices of dwarfish evil and that ever-prevalent cryptic cut up of popular culture. A subversive hijacking of soft rock motifs and easy listening smooch amongst the more avant slants, generating some mighty fine earwormery. The 8 bit Bob the Builder pixilation of “Oh, Oh, Oh,” the bizarre but tuneful “Schonheit der Macht” sounding like an unintentional cover of Sakamoto and Sylvian‘s “Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence” and of course, the yummy pop perfection that is “Junger Mann.” Die Letzte Rache is a suitably odd soundtrack for an equally bizarre film I’ve yet to watch (LoveFilm gave it one star, a good indication of a right royal head twist me thinks) meanwhile this album is painting one hell of an imaginative teaser.
Japlan follows a year after Die Letzte Rache – a ‘greatest hits’ of sorts. A cheery anecdote for a successful Japanese tour, it surfs deliberately close to twee in places, sounding almost ‘arcade’ as rose buds of early computerised tech cybernetically fuse with the tinsel tempos like bouncy rag dolls on wavy graph paper. Little black holes of enjoyment sucking in the popcorn and spitting out some true moments of genius: “Das Insekt,” “Gummitwist” and the beloved “Space Bob.”
A surreally comic parade that’s almost like a proto version of Reeves and Mortimer or The Mighty Boosh in its goofy cardboard cutout ways. Japlan promotes a limitless supply of stupid dances, a ticker tape of flying suds, a zillion miles from the endless lovestruck warbling that mascarades for pop nowadays – Arrrghhhh, it’s like a modern day Dante trapped in a tenth circle of hell sometimes. I’m pleased to say, this definitely kicks that shit for six and is a perfect place to dip your toe into the Der Plan worldview , a bubbling perspective that doesn’t take itself at all seriously, and all the better for it.