Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this Independent Spotlight, we’ll be delving into ‘Street Pulse,’ a new six-track EP by German band Denmantau. The record is their second self-produced EP, though the band has been an incredibly active one over the course of the past ten years.
When describing their sound, Denmantau classifies their genre as “trumpet rock,” a rather peculiar genre that pulls from everything from funk to folk. Their decade-long musical voyage has been intensified by more than 2,500 shows across Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. They’ve turned their eyes towards the United States more recently, striving to make a name for themselves in the world’s largest music industry.
True to their description of themselves, this five-person outfit does indeed boast a unique sound. ‘Crystal Clear’ introduces the band on their second EP with a folky, trumpet-driven number. It feels ethnic and seems to align closely with world music. That makes sense, however, given the geographical prowess of the group. The vocal style is quirky and odd, which makes the style more memorable, though for American audiences, vocalist Paul Weber is difficult to understand at times.
The first track is laden with powerful performances, intriguing vocals, and catchy choruses. This self-produced record sounds exceptional, and the mix superbly represents their style. Too often indie acts have poor self-produced records, but that’s not the case with Denmantau. ‘More Or Less’ has a bit of a Latin-style vibe to it, like it would be at home most in some seaside bungalow.
‘Sail The Ley Line’ is a powerful track with sweet vocal harmonies, driving electric guitar, and remarkably tight percussion. There’s something infectious and wonderful about this track: it’s catchy, well performed, and may be the highlight of the six-song set. When the band harmonizes with Weber, the soundscape is reminiscent of a good alternative rock song akin to some of the lighter Pixies songs. In actuality, the band sounds quite a bit like the Pixies, especially on ‘Sail The Ley Line.’ With the exception of the trumpet, of course, which one could debate is a beneficial factor.
‘One Eye For Many Faces’ feels more experimental, toying with interesting guitar riffs playing off of one another. It’s a softer track, which is welcome after some heavy hitting songs ‘Harvest,’ an acoustic ballad-like jam is another highlight of ‘Street Pulse,’ marking a softer side of the outfit with exceptional orchestration in the mix. The EP departs with ‘Wicked Birds,’ an excellent atmospheric track with some of the most intelligent and fun performances on the album.
‘Street Pulse’ is a magnificently good record. There isn’t a weak point on the EP, though there isn’t anything that exceeds the bar set at the start of the experience. In that sense, the musical sound feels similar on each track, though tracks like ‘Wicked Birds’ take a more experimental turn. Those moments on the album are the best, which is why ‘Wicked Birds’ and ‘Sail The Ley Line’ are the must-listens of the set.
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