Halv Su Wild

by: Bap

Halv Su Wild sounds exactly the way a 2011 album by a band created in 1976 should -- classy, professional, dated, dispensable, and not giving a damn about the latter two. The frontman, Wolfgang Niedecken, is a buddy of Bruce Springsteen, and though personal friendship does not always equal musical proximity, in this case it does -- Halv Su Wild is basically German heartland rock, or as close as Deutschland gets to it. German heartland is pretty urbanized, admittedly, which is perhaps why the rockier cuts, such as the opener or "Niemohls," sound equal parts "Atlantic City" and Chris Rea's "Road to Hell" -- a nice combo, in fact, mixing blues-based riffs, a dash of background synths, and polished U2-ish production into catchy mainstream rock for an audience that doesn't care about music trends anymore. Some of the slower songs also channel the late-night vibe of Rea's AOR-ish blues, but elsewhere the band lets loose and romps through its influences, most notably reggae and good old rockabilly, but also cabaret jazz and even some country, served with fiddle for increased authenticity. Bap are competent at whatever they dabble in, and the guys are obviously having hell of a good time, not to mention piecing together a fun, diverse live set here, but they also bring down the record's impact, just because the down-to-earth retro vibe doesn't quite gel with the gentle Euro-rock melancholy that is the true heart of the record -- and that, in the end, makes up for its derivative nature. ~ Alexey Eremenko

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