Chica and the Folder
42 Madchen
/monika; 2003/




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A little while ago I received a parcel of goodies from Barbara H, which cheered up an otherwise dreary day for me... "42 Madchen" is a diverse collection and makes a pleasant contrast to the spirit of the age, Corporate Homogeneity (sometimes known as Accountancy Is Culture.)

Sung in German, Spanish, Croatian and, er, English, the album also comprises a few instrumental tracks, amongst which 'Love' and 'Liturgy Beat' stand out. The mood ranges from contemplative (the nocturnal pastoral of 'Al que le tora la hora') to happy ('Tibettippich' which takes its lyric from the under-rated poet Else Lasker Schuler) to the chatty informality of 'Max der Kiffer'. Somehow it all holds together and makes me want to hear what they'll do in the future.

Chica's voice (on 'Der wolf und p') sounds plaintive and resigned; Suzana Sucic's singing on 'Tibettippich' recalls Kate Bush circa "The Dreaming" and Sucic balances the difference between a lullaby and a screaming contest on 'Daleka' (in the finest tradition of The Slits.) 

I mentioned the instrumental tracks - 'instrumental' seems too bland a word to describe them, and 'ambient beats' sounds pretty tired these days too. 'Liturgy Beat' could've come from Nurse With Wound; 'Love' sounds like an outtake from New Order's "Movement", while 'Ultimas palabras' uses a scratched record and radio voices to create an oddly relaxing effect. Still, I'd like them to explore such possibilities in greater detail and devote a whole album to it. And then maybe another album of songs: I'd like to hear Chica sing more and Suzana Sucic sing more too!

In a way, I wish they'd get more messy and create a fucked-up unified whole. Barbara Morgenstern, Chica's Monika labelmate, constructs a fragile pop aesthetic within an Apollonian context; Chica and The Folder are still finding their feet, but with more discipline they could really let go. Watch out for them: it'll be something to look forward to...

-Andrew Russell

/nov 15th 2003/