Hans-a-Plast 2 LP reissue
All three LPs from early German punks HANS-A-PLAST have recently been brought back into circulation thanks to Tapete, but 1981’s 2 (their second, duh) is their most striking, and I’d argue their best. The band’s self-titled 1979 debut was a relatively trad take on the wind-up punky energy of the BUZZCOCKS, with a streak of wild X-RAY SPEX abandon in vocalist Annette Benjamin’s animated delivery, and just as those groups fractured into new projects on the cusp of post-punk so that they could push into more challenging musical directions, 2 likewise finds HANS-A-PLAST deconstructing some of the rigid first-wave boxes in which they’d placed themselves on the first LP. It might not be immediately apparent when the speedy pogo-punk opener “Spielfilm” kicks in, but it soon will be, from the sax that skronks over the rattling rhythm of “Reicher Vati,” to the punctuated, stop/start jabbing and steadily more unhinged gang vocals in “Humphrey Bogart,” to the loopy KLEENEX-ish post-punk tumble of “Kunde Und Vieh” and “Kurz und Dreckig,” to Annette’s trills, squeals, and general motor-mouth chattering starting to take on character that’s much more Neue Deutsche Welle than Poly Styrene. By 1983’s swan-song Ausradiert LP, the tone had gotten a little darker and more dour—not quite goth, but rubbing elbows with the likes of XMAL DEUTSCHLAND or MALARIA!, and with less of the eccentric spark that made this second album so special. Weird, fun, just the right amount of messy and shambolic; the golden ratio of early ’80s Euro art-punk.