CAN’T STOP SINGING
(PARTNERS IN CRIME)
Berend Dubbe and Sonja van Hamel, the foxy Dutch pair who make up Bauer, are all about giving you more bang for your guilder. On their debut album, Can’t Stop Singing, they draft an encyclopædia of burbling, bubbling vintage keyboard sounds using an arsenal of classic Moogs, Rolands, and Casios. The disc’s 15 tracks encompass decades of easy-on-the-ears pop (from space-age bachelor-pad grooves to cheesy new-wave moves) dressed up in the kind of avant-pop textures the Chicago post-rock troupe favor.
This is new territory for Dubbe, who used to play drums in the Netherlands’ prime (okay, its only) indie-rock export, Bettie Serveert, a band who made their name with a sweetly ragged Pavement-meets-Neil-Young clatter. With Bauer, that formalism’s been left behind for an anything-goes æsthetic that may sacrifice coherence for variety but never forsakes accessibility for willful obscurity. Like many of their easy-listening forebears (and their mostly instrumental peers in the Windy City), Dubbe and Van Hamel are still struggling as lyricists: " Breastfeeding’s over, feeling deranged/Broken and folded in two, " goes " Giddy Trip. " But in Bauer’s world, the sweetly singing synths say it all.
Issue Date: August 23 - 30, 2001