1980 the zeitgeist played into the right hands. And who held the aces? In Bureau B's game, Moritz R®, Frank Fenstermacher and Pyrolator aka Der Plan. Tired of convention and full of enthusiasm, they encountered an audience who felt just the same. And with record companies too ponderous to sign up Der Plan, the wonderful Ata Tak label was born of necessity. Normalette Surprise is the second album by Der Plan, released in 1981, a good year after their Geri Reig debut. It is immediately recognizable as a Plan album, yet Normalette Surprise does contain a few, well, surprises. The first number, "Leb doch," is a brilliant pop song. One can say many (good) things about Geri Reig, but it does not contain any pop songs. "Leb doch" is built on a captivatingly taut rhythm, sub-cooled vocals and German lyrics. Hang on a minute, taut rhythm, sub-cooled vocals, German lyrics? Yes exactly -- Der Plan drew up the blueprint for what would soon become known as "Neue Deutsche Welle" -- the German New Wave. Although, "blueprint" sounds a little too benign. It was more like a big bang. Moreover, there was something new about it. Or rather, something old. Bizarrely, Der Plan were introduced by their American artist friends, including the controversial elocutionist Boyd Rice, into the amazing world of the German Schlager, a colorful universe of the absurd awaited exploration. "Kleine Schlager-Revue" and "Sie hat mich verlassen" are the clearest indications of this newfound passion on Normalette Surprise. Hence, Normalette Surprise presents the full range of attributes which would define Der Plan and the Ata Tak label: electronics and Schlager, noise and pop. And Der Plan's protagonists succeeded -- unlike so many -- in their mission of creating something original, something of their own.