Love & Hoppiness
Imagine there is a seven-headed rhythmic beast with a percussionist, drummer, bassist, keyboardist, two horn players, and a DJ up on the stage embracing the musical totality of the world without any folklore kitsch, its subtlety and urban club grooves crossing various genre-divisions. That beast is Feindrehstar. This unique band, based in Jena, Germany, has long been known for its ability to capture that live energy in studio recordings. Feindrehstar now present their second album, Love & Hoppiness, following their 2010 debut album Vulgarian Knights (MKR 004CD/LP). A lot has happened in the meantime: countless club and festival gigs, an inspiring African tour, and countless hours spent working in the studio. Love & Hoppiness matured over three years; the first recordings developed in the fall of 2012 with Michel Baumann (Soulphiction, Jackmate) and Nik Reiff in Stuttgart. Further overdubs with trombone, cello, guitar, and vocals followed at various home studios and conservatories. That's right -- vocals have been introduced to this otherwise instrumental band. Owing to these vocal tracks with Dave Aju, Ebo Taylor, and Tina Keserovic, Feindrehstar's sound continues to develop. Jazz, soul, and funk vibes shine through on tracks like "Antelope," a track featuring the vocals and guitar of legendary Ghanaian musician Ebo Taylor. It was clear right from the start that everything clicked with Dave Aju; the smooth, soul-soaked hip hop of "From Bob to Stevie" is a standout track. Feindrehstar call their music "krautclub," and the reason for this becomes clear on "Caje Sukarije," with a classic Balkan funk sound taken over by wild synth loops fused together in a haze of electro-funk. It is in fact a Roma anthem sung by Keserovic. The completely acoustic ballad "Love & Hoppiness Int." anchors the album in a captivating calm with cello and clarinet. Despite the many new directions, the genre-defying yet danceable club sound of Feindrehstar remains. "Love & Hoppiness," "Deep Horse," "Shake That," and "Night Rainer Diskodub" show once again that after 15 years of rocking dance floors, Feindrehstar's energy hasn't diminished.