Seven years after releasing their self-titled debut album, Apparat (AKA Sascha Ring) and Modeselektor (the duo of Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary) have regrouped to release II.This creative, expansive and surprisingly cheerful new offering will not disappoint fans.

II is spacious. It features the same minimalist and tasteful techno as the first effort, but with greater warmth. In ‘Bad Kingdom’ heavy synths are mixed with lofty lyrics for a punchy euphoria that could be cheesy, probably is cheesy, but is irresistibly uplifting. The album is for intellectuals who still enjoy waving glow sticks. Even when moving into darker, heavier sounds like in ‘Therapy’ or ‘Damage Done’, there is still an element that is positively cheery.

That said, there is nothing soft or fluffy about this album. On tracks like ten-minute long ‘Milk’, the Berliners delve deep into synth underworld, starting with minimalist beats and climaxing with Caribou-ish flourish. In ‘Versions’ the trio take what could be a catchy, radio-friendly song and give it texture and space.

II is a rich, percussive-driven album. Laced with echoes and sonic surprises, II is an album that can be listened on and off the dancefloor. The tracks are accessible but not without depth. Given popular electronic music has suffered from a fever of regressive Eurovision disco, it is refreshing to hear new music that is exactly that – new.

Of course, the album is not flawless. The upbeat lyricism can be cringey at times.

But on the whole listening to II is satisfying – like reading a good book is satisfying. You finish and think, yes that is something I will remember. Well worth the wait.

4/5 stars


II isout now through Monkeytown.

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