WHAT YOU THINK Is All You’ve Got, the second album from the joyfully surrealist combo Anzahlung, is released on a “sumptuous silver” limited vinyl pressing of 250 copies by FOAD Records.
Anzahlung is a creative collaboration between The Shend and Joe 91 from The Cravats, enthused by the need to construct the “discomforting dada disco” that might “capture the zeitgeist of the new abnormal”.
With its genesis in the darkest days of the pandemic lockdown, Anzahlung aimed to “create a strain of sound to silence the horrible horsemen of havoc circling the perimeter.”
Anzahlung’s first album I’ve Lost My Footing On The World was released on the Brighton based label Cupboard Music and limited to just 100 vinyl copies. The album is still available in CD and digital download formats through Bandcamp.
Anzahlung. 2022. What You Think Is All You’ve Got. FOAD Records.
Enthused by the absurdist, surrealist tenor of What You Think Is All You’ve Got, an envoy of The Hippies Now Wear Black met with The Shend at a decommisioned liquorice factory just outside Düsseldorf for a closely choreographed two-minute interview.
HNWB: When did you realise that the time was right to share another chunk of Anzahlung goodness with the world? Why now?
The Shend: Joe 91 couldn’t stop crafting tunes of torridness since the release of the first LP and luckily my nugget notebooks were stuffed so this release happened quickly. What tracks to leave out was the problem.
HNWB: Was this a musical project distilled during the socially distanced months of the lockdown, or did it come together in its aftermath?
The Shend: The conception of Anzahlung and the first LP were created during lockdown in our respective isolation pods and this second evolved last year as we emerging overground, blinking in the sunlight of this grave new world.
HNWB: If you had to come up with three words to describe What You Think Is All You’ve Got, what would they be?
The Shend: Raucous, Toe-tapping, Unnerving.
HNWB: Does this second album have an upbeat or a downbeat tone – or is that not for you to say?
The Shend: It’s upbeat in tone. Joyous in places. Doom Disco should be fun. Dancing in Dystopia.
HNWB: What should listeners not expect from the album?
The Shend: Listeners should not expect dullness or turgidity.
REVIEW: Anzahlung. 2022. What You Think Is All You’ve Got. FOAD Records.
The history of The Cravats is replete with side projects, spin-offs and intriguing collaborations.
Anzahlung is the most recent, a creative partnership between Joe 91 and The Shend for which the Covid lockdown was the unwelcome and unwanted catalyst. With The Cravats unable to meet, rehearse or perform or record together, Anzahlung emerged as a means for two fine talents within the band to continue to craft original music together – remotely and digitally.
Joe 91 wrote and shared his musical soundtracks, for which The Shend crafted lyrics and devised matching melodies.
Enthused by the positive critical response that greeted Anzahlung’s first album, I’ve Lost My Footing On The World (2020), the pair are about to release What You Think Is All You’ve Got. Given the talents involved, it’s not surprising that there’s no hint of ‘difficult second album’ syndrome here.
This is an assured release, an album in which a deliberately diverse collection of songs is made coherent by the inventive and pulsating rythmns that drive all thirteen songs, and by the cleverly constructed vocal patterns that punctuate and colour every track. It’s a far from an obvious fusion of musical styles. Which is, of course, what makes it an interesting listen.
Those new to Anzahlung may be surprised by hear how much of the band’s work is influenced by the sounds of electronica, dance and techno (and by a nodding acquaintance with the industrialist enthusiasts of post-punk). Musically, this is definitely not The Cravats with the serial numbers rubbed off. But what this work shares with that of those singularly special Dadaists is a fascination with the off-kilter, the ridiculous and with the alarming that’s lurking just beneath the surface of the everyday.
Highlights (and there are many) include the deliciously cautionary ‘Boneless Man’, the insistent ‘Fan Out’, the troubling ‘Don’t Open The Door’ and the irresistible ‘Can’t Take It With You’ (imagine Hit Parade doing a Devo cover).
Unabashed and unapologetic, this is a disconcerting sonic sojourn. Twisted tonal textures, pounding beats and lyrical feats. It’s the unsettling soundtrack for these disconnected, dysfunctional times that you didn’t know you needed. But it turns out that you do.