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Klimt 1918 - Sentimentale Jugend (2016) - Review

Band: Klimt 1918
Album title: Sentimentale Jugend
Release date: 2 December 2016
Label: Prophecy Productions

Disc I - Sentimentale
01. Montecristo
02. Comandante
03. La Notte
04. It Was To Be
05. Belvedere
06. Once We Were
07. Take My Breath Away (Berlin cover)
08. Sentimentale
09. Gaza Youth (Exist/Resist)

Disc II - Jugend
01. Nostalghia
02. Fracture
03. Ciudad Lineal
04. Sant'Angelo (The Sound & The Fury)
05. Unemployed & Dreamrunner
06. The Hunger Strike
07. Resig/Nation
08. Caelum Stellatum
09. Juvenile
10. Stupenda E Misera Città

Eight years after their seminal album, Just In Case We'll Never Meet Again (Soundtrack For The Cassette Generation), the Italian masters of indie/atmospheric rock return with an epochal epic double album named Sentimentale Jugend. The title of the album is associated with the short-lived experimental noise act of the same name, founded by Alexander Hacke (Einstürzende Neubauten) and his then significant other Christiane Flescherinow (also known as Christiane F. from the bestselling non-fiction book 'We Children From Bahnhof Zoo') in the early 80s. Klimt 1918 didn't name their new album this way by a coincidence; actually nothing regarding this band is a coincidence, from their name on; it's a footnote of pop history and is deeply underlying in the overall mood of the song featured on this release. Sentimentale Jugend in its lyrics captures the pulsating, nihilistic glory of West Berlin in its late 70s and processes notions from Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's award-winning movie 'The Lives Of Others', be it the foggy winter atmosphere in East Berlin during the early 80s or the female protagonist's melancholy.

Klimt 1918 on this new masterpiece stay loyal to the sound they achived on Just In Case We'll Never Meet Again and even before on Dopoguerra, but yet the sound feels even more melancholic, and at the same time Klimt 1918 brings forth in their songs kind of soothing warmth and embraces with staggering comfort. Sentimentale Jugend is divided into two parts, the first one named Sentimentale consists of nine songs that are a bit more moody, slow and longer than ten songs on its counterpart Jugend. But still, both parts are in my opinion just one big totality and can't be really teared apart one from another, Sentimentale smoothly pours into Jugend and vice versa, thus offers some kind of a transcedental feeling of that sweet yet for some painful inner isolation inside the urban world.

All of the songs are based on the best of what post-rock and shoegaze can offer, but at the same time is alternating the energetic and dense indie rock with wistful and full of atmosphere melancholic rock, new wave, gothic, even doom and early pop rhythms from 50s and 60s. It's difficult to talk about musical references here, but the band said that when doing this album they were mostly influenced by acts such are The Chameleons, Glasvegas, A Place To Bury Strangers, iLikeTrains, Cocteau Twins, The Ronettes, U2, Chaperhouse, The Raveonettes, The Drifters, Sophia, Breathless, Jesus And Mary Chain, The Everly Brothers, The Platters, Sigur Ros, Radio Dept and Dead Can Dance. But please don't be misguided by those names, because Klimt 1918 are an entity on their own and believe me or not they posses that magical ability to let your mind go out on a trip, out of this material world into dream land, no matter what the words in the lyrics say, I'm pretty sure that everyone who'll embrace this album in its fullness will find with it his/her own fantasy universe.

I was amazed by slowly building up cinematic ambiances already with the opener "Montecristo", such a captivating inventive melodic sound which is yet so very rich and dense that grabs your soul and doesn't let you go. Then the beautifully emanating "It Was To Be" or sensitive "Once We Were" are definitely meant to deeply move listeners senses. Sparkly, a bit melancholic gothy guitars and well inserted drones, strong pursuant rhythmic lines, are in perfect synchonization with so very soothing, warm and unique voice of Marco Soellner who is often adding a lot of depth and weight to every single composition, and so it's with the cover version of 80s hit "Take My Breath Away", originally performed by Berlin. Even if many times the whole thing might sound a bit retro oriented I don't find this in any way negative, rather than that it's welcoming how nicely Klimt 1918 use those elements in such a post modernistic way to create this kind of a mind blowing atmospheric sound that strangely enough is absolutely original, especially in most of the first part, Sentimentale. Of course also Jugend has some staggering melancholic and highly emotional tunes, nicely building up "Ciudad Lineal" is one of those sonic marvels.

Klimt 1918 offer also some nice groovy, driving, but always well controled, full of atmosphere and melancholy, energetic songs, for example "Sentimentale", "Nostalghia", "Belvedere" or "Juvenile" are fine examples, but as well some other tracks have highly energetic, sometimes almost heavy parts. It's obvious that almost in every single song Klimt 1918 try to reach some kind of a climax and they do it with perfection, just listen to the amazing conclusion of "Comandante" to believe it. This always rich sound is absolutely well conducted, it has unimaginable depth, all of the tracks are compact enough to offer an otherworldy sonic experience which is best perceptible in the closing epic almost 10 minutes long song named "Stupenda E Miserabile Città", where shoegazing cinematic soundscapes most of the time at the very border of doom metal nicely intertwine with droneing guitars, haunting synths and generic post-rock melodic lines. In the end I can only say that Sentimentale Jugend is pure sonic satisfaction for everyone who is searching for something more in his music, whether be a special atmosphere, emotion, energy, special melody,... soul,... or anything that makes a difference between flat and deep music.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 9/10