Reviews

Bärchen Und Die Milchbubis Endlich Komplett Betrunken LP

A new collection of the (almost) complete works of early ’80s German group BÄRCHEN UND DIE MILCHBUBIS, who brought a playful naivety and shambolic charm to the Neue Deutsche Welle—their smiling teddy bear mascot was like a knowing wink that they were operating on a different wavelength than, say, D.A.F. or MALARIA! The stripped-down, melodically off-kilter bash of their 1980 debut EP Jung Kaputt Spart Altersheime was very much of a piece with their Hannover scene peers and labelmates HANS-A-PLAST, and by 1981’s follow-up LP Dann Macht Es Bumm, BÄRCHEN UND DIE MILCHBUBIS had developed a more fully-realized sense of self, one that artfully encompassed 39 CLOCKS covers (taking the VELVETS-gone-electro drone of “DNS” and turning it out like NICO fronting KLEENEX), sparse drum machine pop (back to that local 39 CLOCKS connection!) breaking into a full-on pogo charge on “Manager”, solemn, brittle post-punk (“Tiefseefisch”), and proto-twee/C86 jangle (“Muskeln”), all without fully abandoning their initial wild, freewheeling punk spirit (see “Pogo Liebt Dich” and “Spaß” for proof positive). One of Dann Macht Es Bumm’s fourteen tracks got left behind on what is otherwise an exhaustive round-up of the MILCHBUBIS discography (where’s “Hab Doch Keine Angst”?!), but there’s a handful of live tracks circa ’80—’83 and a 2021 re-do of “DNS” to make up for it; more than enough bang for your buck.