Slogan pop is easy for them: "Never again war" is the name of the long-awaited 13th studio album by Tocotronic. Compared to their last, very autobiographical album, the indie quartet is more political this time. Seems so at least.
The countdown video that Tocotronic tweeted in the run-up to album number 13 is only 15 seconds long and yet says so much about the band that will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year. We see a blonde girl dancing happily past a theme park, past giant dinosaur figures. Then the girl starts to riot, knocking over one trash can after the next. So not the dinosaurs are the troublemaker in this setting, but a little girl. Disturbing and twisting things – that is the credo of the indie rock dinosaurs (yes, this term is allowed at this point). The song title also fits: "I hate it here".
Still against, but without hate
Wonderful, the original Tocotronic fan thinks reflexively: the whole being-against-punk-rock-ness, sung and murmured by Dirk von Lowtzow! But he doesn’t break out in rage anymore. He doesn’t hate the system here, but the fact that he was left by his love. So completely different construction site.
Especially in times when everyone against everyone has become the model of society, von Lowtzow thinks that this insistence on anger and hatred is somehow embarrassing. For anger and despair Tocotronic now find more subtle, quieter, poppier channels. Looking for more melody and still finding great slogans.
Slogan pop deluxe again
You are and remain – sorry, another dinosaur image – the T-Rex among the slogan poppers. "Never again war – ok, Tocotronic really have no copyright on it. But these powerful words summed up the feeling for the album best, says drummer Arne Zank. The slogan is suitable to interweave the political with the personal. Besides, the four would simply have fun with big terms – "fat dogs", as Zank says.
Another fat dog is the song "Youth without God against fascism". A bark against the right and at the same time a benevolent acknowledgement of a growing, anti-fascist generation.
Gentle sounds, also for two
By the way, we don’t have it with the "pandemic plate" of Tocotronic. The songs were written before Corona, only the title "Hope" was pre-released in 2021 – because it was so strangely wonderfully Corona-conforming, this little piece against isolation; this gentle, violin-embedded singing by frontman Dirk von Lotzow.
And then, for the first time, the new Tocotronic album features the “Duett” von Lowtzow – together with the Austrian Anja Plaschg aka Soap& Skin. "I show up" – A song like an intermediate state, says von Lowtzow, between the abyss of sleep and the clarity of the day.
Not the best Tocotronic album, but.
in-between states, tipping points, turmoil, fear, love: many themes! Perhaps too many themes. But also intermediate states between soft and shallow, between noisemaker and songwriter. There could have been – sorry, last animal comparison in this article – more “thick dogs” on the new Tocotronic album, which pleases especially with its three bonus tracks at the end. When Dirk von Lowtzow plays the stray with only his guitar and in the song "Sirius, howls at the so-called Dog Star.
Nie wieder Krieg is not the best Tocotronic album. But you hand me needle and thread and I embroider my new favorite slogan of the Tocos into my pillow: I go down in history as a distant memory.
© Universal Music
Image rights: Universal Music
"Never again war" – new album by Tocotronic
"Never again war", the new album by Tocotronic, is released by Universal Music.
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