To anyone who would listen, the great Alain Bashung spoke of Einstürzende Neubauten in these terms: “It’s not just noise, you know, not just noise.” And he was right, the Alsatian. Especially since the turn of the millennium, the music of Blixa Bargeld and his band has been moving further and further away from the fury of the 1980s. It’s now a long way off, the time when Bargeld impressed Nick Cave with his high-pitched screams and frenetic guitar playing, and was recruited for the first version of his Bad Seeds.
After the (excellent) “Ten Grand Goldie” and “Am Landwehrkanal”, which astonishes with its old Irish ballad airs, things calm down, but the atmosphere fills with tension. Storms can erupt at any time, as the thunderous explosions that dot the “Zivilisatorisches Missgeschick” prove. Next, strings are wrapped around the black pearls that are “Taschen” and “Seven Screws”. More than ever, the musicians take their time to explore the possibilities offered by their handcrafted instruments. More than ever, Bargeld sings softly and recites calmly.
The moving title song, lulled by the chords of a harmonium, is another highlight of the album. As is the melancholy “Grazer Damm”, a boat full of flowers that moves gently on dark, calm waters. Finally, the echoes of a harp illuminate “Tempelhof”, the last song on a record which, although overcast by troubling clouds, is not devoid of hope. With Alles in Allem, Blixa Bargeld and his acolytes show us that even if they make less noise than in their wild youth, they haven’t lost their touch.