Die Verlierer Die Verlierer LP

We’re only halfway through this latest trip around the sun, but I have no doubt that this debut will rate as one of the best punk records of 2022. There’s an appealing sleaze emanating from DIE VERLIERER. They wear suits like cooler-than-thou continental types, but they rock the fuck out like gutter-dwelling amphetamine enthusiasts. Debonair, but damaged. “Die Zeit” kicks off with thrilling, dark energy like SODS on Minutes to Go. This smashing opener is backed up by “Die Verlierer” (“The Losers”), which pulls a similar trick by effortlessly channeling Dagger & Guitar-era SORT SOL. But let’s not paint DIE VERLIERER into a Denmark-shaped corner—I’m just trying to establish the rarified atmosphere that we are floating in. A slashing guitar tears into “Intrige und Libido” and ratchets the tension up as the bass lands every punch it throws, and the barely-in-control singing is like DIETER MEIER at his incandescent early peak. I’ve probably listened to this song at least a hundred times in the last few months. Absolute punk perfection. “Plastic Life” is like the encore of a gloriously shambolic STRANGLERS gig; I can almost hear the crowd singing along like a chorus of shithoused angels. DIE VERLIERER can actually swing, and this skill alone sets them apart from a vast landscape of indistinguishable simulation rockers. “Mann im Mond” is the CURE reincarnated as street toughs; fierce romantics, sensitive brawlers. “Nichts Funktioniert” is desperate and flailing punk that demonstrates true mastery of the form. This is the kind of song to inspire hordes of punks to treat desolate urban sprawl as the adult playground it surely is. Structures, after all, are just objects to bounce ideas off; bodies too. Just keep your eye out for the cops. That’s when “X Ray Vision” comes in handy. “Deadgirl” is the kind of love song no one writes anymore. That could be a positive development—from a certain point of view—but hey, fatalism is hot, and always will be. Listen, I don’t make the rules. Speaking of which, “Into A” is an epic last gasp that shamelessly nicks the BIRTHDAY PARTY’s “Deep in the Woods.” If you’re gonna steal, do it from the best, and yeah, add some phased vocals to the funeral proceedings and drag that sucker out like a corpse ‘til it’s six feet under. Hell of a record here.