The Umlauts announce themselves with their jubilantly defiant and dance floor ready debut single ‘Boiler Suits and Combat Boots’, taken from their debut Ü EP released on 11th June 2021 via PRAH Recordings: http://prah.plctrmm.to/UEP
Buoyed by pulsating layers of synth and undulating drum machine percussion, all of which percolate beneath German spoken vocals that lyrically poke fun at the sartorial appropriation of working class utility wear amongst artistic communities.
All shot through with the timeless and otherworldly future sounds of Kraftwerk and the infectious groove of the Happy Mondays, what the Umlauts concoct is a heady hybrid of dance music and post-punk with German vocals. What really traverses the potential language barrier here is the danceable nature of the music which knows no borders and only has this pandemic in the way of it becoming a festival favourite.
Speaking of the track the band say:
“Boiler Suits and Combat Boots was intended to be a humorous take on how artists fetishise Berlin as being the centre of the ‘cool’ art world and the dystopian uniformity that is contained within this.”
Formed after meeting together at Wimbledon College of Art, but with two of their four members hailing from mainland Europe, their debut EP ‘Ü’ is a record characterised by cross-border perspectives both stylistically and thematically.
It's at art college in London and the addition of lyricists and vocalists Annabelle Mödlinger and Maria Vittoria Faldini that’s crystallised them as a band. Their debut EP is a tightly hewn mix of mechanical synth-pop, spiky no wave and bristling post-punk, with Mödlinger and Faldini’s multilingual lyrics giving it a razor-sharp focus.
Much of the EP was completed at the PRAH studios in Margate, after initially beginning to come together over Lear and Offord’s kitchen table in Peckham, and the excitement of those overnight sessions – of four people finding themselves creatively – is evident, not least on the fuzzy subs and disorientating melodic sways of final track Remedy Song.
That The Umlauts formed and operate in the shadow of the UK leaving Europe isn’t something a trans-European group have been able to shy away from, but it’s also why they come across as a much-needed antidote. They’re a brilliantly idiosyncratic reminder of the benefits that a melting pot of cultures and cross-border perspectives can result in.