It’s far from an entirely new thing, of course. People have been making music with their self-invented instruments since the bird-bone flutes of Southern Germany some 43,000 years ago. Of course, folk like the esteemed Harry Partch developed his own idiosyncratic vision of what they could be, and Einstürzende Neubauten, amongst many other bands given the ‘industrial’ tag, were undisputed champions of ‘domestic appliances as an art form‘ for a long time. Alexander Hacke, from the German noisemeisters, produces here, and, while we have established that it’s nothing new in itself, what is perhaps most surprising is just how melodic Cleaning Women are.
As the name might suggest, all the band’s instruments are made from cleaning apparatus, and it serves Intersubjectivity up as a surprisingly relaxing ten song set. Opening track ‘Playoff‘, for example, has a similar effect to Wintergatan‘s ‘Marble Machine‘ from a few years back, that particular composer’s ultra-calming music being made, somewhat bizarrely, by a wooden contraption housing 20,000 marbles.
When the vocals kick in on ‘Leap Of Faith‘, however, its tone puts you in mind of the more traditional instrumentation of New York post-punkers French Kicks, especially around the time of 2004’s ‘Trial Of the Century‘. It’s no less appealing for it, and the Finnish trio fascinate throughout, with fancy flourishes and fantastical fervour and lots of other f-words, before we reach the title track, which sounds rather like a bastardised, nay, demonised, version of 10CC‘s ‘Rubber Bullets‘, voiced by what sounds at first like a really-can’t-be-arsed Satan, and then eventually becoming something slightly to the left of Sparks circa Kimono My House.
In between, we are treated to the eerie sparseness of tracks like ‘Shadows In The Air‘, the ominous pessimism of album highlight ‘Life Among The Concrete Dust‘, which surely would have been regarded as a top 10 classic had it been released in 1981, and the digital electronics of the German worded (I think!) ‘Party Teufel‘, which sounds something like Falco’s ‘Der Komissar‘ if you’d stuffed him inside a barrel, slowed it down and told him to sing along with it as you rolled him down the hill, accompanied by a handful of drug addled revellers.
And I mean this as a good thing, folks!
Intersubjectivity is released on 15th February through Svart Records.