For more than a decade, bands like The National, Daughter, and Frightened Rabbit have made the brooding beautiful, but German indie-rock group Kraków Loves Adana have done something similarly exceptional. With their third album, Call Yourself New, they have made the melancholic exhilarating. They have turned the exercise of contemplating our very existence into a memorable and often breathtaking experience on a record that is nothing short of exceptional. Call Yourself New, as such, is a rarity in today’s world – a concept album that follows the paths of multiple individuals in their search for meaning.
“False Alarm”, “Youth Unbroken”, and “Never Quite Right” form the record’s “Holy Trinity” – the three songs that define Deniz Cicek and Robert Heitmann’s endless search. “False Alarm” is at the tip of the formation and a contender for song of the year. The brooding soundscapes are startlingly beautiful, providing the perfect soundtrack for a late-night drive beyond the glimmer of the city’s lights and under the pale moonlight. Cicek’s deep vocals, meanwhile, are absolutely engrossing, quietly bellowing with the urgency of a entrapped woman. The following lyrics are enrapturing:
I know better than anyone.
My doubts are ringing like a false alarm.
Because they’ll never lose their charm.
Let the light back in. Let the light back in!
The piano-driven “Youth Unbroken” is storytelling perfection. Led by Heitmann, the instrumentation creates a reflective mood, as if one is constantly looking in the rearview mirror. A slight mournfulness reverberates in Cicek’s beautifully sincere vocals, which tells a story of a group of people trying to find their way. The song could and should be the anthem of today’s youth and anyone seeking redemption.
Let’s drive to the other side of the night.
Let’s drive and count the flashing neon lights.
Let’s drive and become another stereotype to people who never are right.
No matter where we go, got to stay on the road.
Put everything on hold.
No we won’t return home.
“Never Quite Right” is the album’s most introspective and gripping track. The music is immensely stark, mimicking a movie scene where everything is dark and fear grows in the character’s heart. Cicek carves out such a story – that of a person at her most vulnerable as she seeks answers to life and death.
I missed the rain.
I lost the keys.
Cause what I know is what I feel to fight the battle in between.
Longing for the picturesque.
The crushing wave pressed to my chest.
And it’s never quite right.
Around these three songs are similarly brilliant songs. “Dirty Drug” is enchanting, radiating with the dark hum of Joy Division’s most contemplative songs and the brooding cinema of Daughter. It is the closest that Kraków Loves Adana come to writing a love song, but love is both the solution and the challenge. “Don’t mistake my silence for oblivion” is one of the best lyrics of the year. “Not Another Sad Guitar” and “Cold Spell” are chilling in their effects. The former tackles the issue of depression and the isolation that it brings. The latter feels like an obituary as one realizes that one’s journey is about to come to an end.
Although the album leans more towards the melancholic, it does have its share of exhilarating songs. The opener, “Darkness Falls”, is a hypnotic number with its driving approach and powerful in its story, as Cicek narrates a person’s escape from his past. The lyric, “Darkness told me to be alone, gave me comfort in the unknown”, is memorable. “Illusion of Control” builds into a wonderful, driving melody that is gripping and breathtaking. The bass line on the song is The Cure-esque, accelerating in pace like a heart does when taken on an unforgettable ride.
“Beautiful Lie” is an immersive and absolutely stunning number that blends Joy Division with The Jesus and Mary Chain. Cicek enchants with a message of hope and wonder and that maybe what we do need is a little fantasy in our lives. Call Yourself New fits the bill, as for over thirty minutes we can momentarily escape reality and succumb to Kraków Loves Adana’s cinematic world. A place that is intense, brooding, and melancholic, but it is also beautiful, exhilarating, and spectacular. It is an album that surely will seriously be considered among our Favorites of 2017.
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