Elisabeth Kaplan

Singer & Songwriter

Sunday 12 April 2015

Schick Schock (Album) - Bilderbuch

Each year Austria’s music industry pats itself on the back with the Amadeus Austrian Music Awards. And although there hasn’t been all that much to celebrate in the past few years (a cynical me would say decades), there is currently a new surge of energy, a new spirit, and new talent, which truly gives cause for hope. Wanda, 5/8erl in Ehr’n, Conchita Wurst or Parov Stelar, to name just a few, show how much diversity and what a high standard Austrian music has to offer at the moment.

What I couldn’t understand, though, was how Bilderbuch could be so completely overlooked by the Amadeus people (nothing less than Band of the Year would have been appropriate as far as I’m concerned). This is a band that plays to sold-out crowds throughout the German-speaking area. A band that – together with Wanda – has triggered a state of euphoria in the country and given Austrians something they can be proud of, or even – and this is virtually unheard of – brag about. And Bilderbuch’s album “Schick Schock” is an achievement in itself: an album that sounds thoroughly international (apart from the language), is flawlessly produced down to the smallest detail, that oozes humour and intelligence – one might even call it a pop masterpiece.

Much has been written and said about the band’s image and attitude, especially that of lead singer Maurice Ernst. So cocksure, so irresistibly arrogant, so sexy … but at the end of the day, we mustn’t forget, in the midst of all that praise, that these four young men from Kremsm√ľnster have also made a brilliant album.

These are my top 5 “Schick Schock” moments:

5th place
There are so many memorable lyrics on the album that I can only pick out one or two on behalf of the rest. “Du hast den Schick Schock / Weil dich mein Schick schockt” (“You’re in chic shock / ‘Cause you’re shocked by my chic”) is just one example of Maurice Ernst having fun with words and sounds. The same goes for the line “Ein Rebell, Rebell, Rebell / Wie ein Hund auf der Jagd” (Feinste Seide), where the repetition of the word Rebell simulates a dog barking (bellen). Humour and intelligence – a magnetic combination.

4th place
The unconventional (in pop at least) use of mixed metres in Barry Manilow. The guitar intro is normal enough, but when the vocals come in, the bars are put together like this: 4/4 – 4/4 – 2/4 – 4/4 – 2/4. And inserting the title “Barry Manilow” into the first of these 2/4 bars creates a kind of spaced out moment in which we’re drawn out of reality, only to be plonked back in two seconds later. I have no idea how Bilderbuch got the idea for it, but it certainly proves that they have musical intelligence.

3rd place
The song Schick Schock starts with Maurice Ernst trying to get a girl to admit that she was checking out his ass. This is followed by the “plop” sound made by the volume key on a Mac, as if there were someone going “Wait. Did he really just say that??” Love it.

2nd place
At just under 4.5 minutes, OM can certainly take its time building up – and does so with relish. New elements are introduced at regular intervals, such as the guitar riff at 1:25, and the swelling synth sound that adds density at 1:58. But the wickedest moment is 3:06, when, after a break, a new riff takes over and M.E. adlibs over it. Instructions for use: Must be heard at a sufficiently high volume!

1st place
Maurice Ernst’s first “Yeah” in Maschin. Just says everything.



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