It's A Musical

For Years And Years

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Question: What is it that all those “mixed duos” of recent musical history, acts like Eurythmics, Everything But The Girl, The White Stripes or The Dresden Dolls have in common? Answer: They all have clear roles within the band. In the case of Berlin-based duo It’s A Musical, things are a little different though: Ella Blixt aka Bobby Baby and Robert Kretzschmar don’t have these clear roles; instead they go for a decidedly more open and democratic approach. They write their songs together, they decide who plays which instrument for any given song (in concert, they repeatedly switch between various instruments), and when recording, they keep things DIY (Norman Nitzsche, who mixed the latest album by The Whitest Boy Alive, was the only additional person to help out with mixing in the studio). And then there is, of course, the band’s unique way to layer the vocals – two voices in unison, frequently singing together throughout both the verse and the chorus. However, the resulting new LP – and those familiar with It’s A Musical’s first album “The Music Makes Me Sick” know this –, does NOT sound like it follows a political concept. The title “For Years And Years” stands for a dozen gorgeous (indie) pop gems; tracks that, even though somewhat laconic, nevertheless manage to uplift the listener; songs so euphoric and stirring, in fact, that last time around, the choosey people at allmusic.com concluded that one “would have to look hard to find a better indie pop album than ‘The Music Makes Me Sick’ in 2008.”
Apart from the euphoric choruses, a hidden sense of humor remains another trademark of this band – and this sense of humor is in large part owed to sharing the microphone. Here’s an example: When Robert and Ella deal with the complexities an endlessly extended adolescence entails, especially when it comes to sexual desires and such, the simultaneous delivery of the female and male perspective allows them to circumnavigate even the slightest sense of self-pity or cheap emotionalism. This is one of many things to love about It’s A Musical: After all, the most whining and complaining in pop music comes from those who set out to present “authentic feelings” – and It’s A Musical manage to present this kind of “realness” without any of that wailing. Even the only cover song, Eleventh Hour’s “The Team That Never Wins” (originally from 1997) is presented with a humorous twist, thanks to the mood and vibe It’s A Musical chose for the cover: A vibe reminiscent of “Bowie in Berlin”, as in: We can’t be heroes.
Throughout the album, “For Years And Years” picks up the pace and gains more and more momentum: “Cleverness” is built from vibraphone sounds, organs and drum rolls (just like in that “Fish Song”), and “One Million People” is a catchy piano pop gem that owes as much to Carole King as it does to Ben Folds Five. And of course all these tracks have that certain DIY feel to them, a vibe that makes the listener forget that both Ella and Robert are actually trained multi-instrumentalists, and busy with lots of other projects: Robert also plays drums for Masha Qrella, and Ella, who recently worked with Peaches, is involved with popkollo.se and rubytuesdaymusic.de. Furthermore, both members of It’s A Musical help organize special rock camps for young teenage girls. Mind you, these activities have nothing in common with Disney Musical Films or the Jonas Brothers: instead, these camps are about keeping the original Riot-Grrrl vibe alive. Which means we’re back to politics. A topic rarely treated and presented so smartly as in this case.

It's A Musical: For Years And Years

For Years And Years It's A Musical 3'38''
As Soon As I It's A Musical 4'09''
The Nap It's A Musical 3'06''
Point Back It's A Musical 3'30''
Peace And Trees It's A Musical 3'34''
The Team That Never Wins It's A Musical 2'52''
Fish Song It's A Musical 3'12''
Ljubljana It's A Musical 3'35''
Pictures It's A Musical 3'58''
One Million People It's A Musical 2'46''
The Dream It's A Musical 3'51''
Bring It On It's A Musical 3'36''
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