Onyon Last Days on Earth LP

This four-piece out of Leipzig turned quite a few heads last year with their debut cassette. Among the folks wowed by their odd mix of primitive post-punk, drippy garage (think Help-era THEE OH SEES),  kitschy sci-fi timbres, and goth-adjacent art-punk were the good folks over at Trouble in Mind, who reissued that cassette in the US and are now here with the group’s debut LP. In her review of their last release, MRR’s Erika Elizabeth expressed hope that on their next record they might “lean even harder into the wild electro-art-punk impulses,” a sentiment I would have echoed at the time. The band, however, has leaned garage-ward. I think it still works, and fans of their debut should still find plenty to love across the twelve tracks on this LP. Any disappointment that I have stems from some potential I imagined from chalking the band’s initial sound up to a choice on their part, rather than something necessitated by their amateurism. In any event, they seem to be playing with more confidence now, the record has a beefier sound, and they really manage to craft a unique atmosphere, even if some of the songwriting is a little blander than I’d hoped.  Overall, I think it’s a cool record, and it contains some absolute bangers—“Alien Alien,” with its detuned extraterrestrial beach party vibe, is one of my favorite tracks of the year. At the very least, give that a listen!

Onyon Onyon cassette

Berlin has been the dominant player in the neo-Neue Deutsche Welle scene, from the Allee Der Kosmonauten collective (AUS, DIE SCHIEFE BAHN, etc.) to the recent output of the Mangel label (with the likes of KLAPPER and OSTSEETRAUM), but just a few hours to the south, the much smaller city of Leipzig has been holding its own, too—last year’s killer LP from MARAUDEUR exuded playful, synth-damaged art-punk cool, and this debut cassette from the new quartet ONYON brings shrouded-but-spiky, subtly goth-tinted post-punk à la early XMAL DEUTSCHLAND out of the Cold War and into the digital age. Vocals alternate between German and English, rarely deviating from a sternly deadpan shout, the beats are of the martial, unwaveringly hi-hat/snare-forward variety, and period-perfect ’80s keys help to scratch that waved-out Zickzack itch. When they raise the urgency level a bit, like on “Octopus” and especially “Klick,” ONYON pushes through the fog of mid-tempo cold-punk and right into the keyed-up synth punk territory of KITCHEN & THE PLASTIC SPOONS—those moments are when the tape really blazes; hoping they lean even harder into the wild electro-art-punk impulses next time around.