If New Order and Kraftwerk had children, Gentlemen of Leisure would be the offspring. It seems that Gentlemen of Leisure (aka Karl Heine and Deiter Mueller from Germany) just stepped out of a time machine. Their mission: to forget about what was going on in the 21st century and head back to electronica’s early days. They wanted to see what the state of music culture was like in 1984 and went back in time to recreate that music. Mission accomplished… somewhat.
Looking at the promotional picture of the band, Mueller looks like a Liam Gallagher wannabe. The difference? Oasis belts out Brit-pop tunes and Gentlemen of Leisure does the exact opposite. From the moment the first track, “Look In My Eyes” plays, there is a certain annoying, but catchy quality to Gentlemen of Leisure’s madness. Just take a look at a sample of the song’s lyrics: “You can look in my eyes, my eyes. Feel the beats so good inside.” It’s corny, but addictive.
Had Gentlemen of Leisure arranged the track order differently, many listeners at HMV would buy the record. Both track 2 (“Boy Toy”) and 3 (“Shootin’ From The Hip) are a real waste of time. “Boy Toy” has the usual ‘80s clapping effect that many bands used to death. And when you listen to “Millennium,” you can probably conjure up images of Mike Myers on “Saturday Night Live” as a certain German model who wants his monkey spanked. Here, Mueller sings in a dreamy state where he utters cities like “Tokyo, Moscow, Berlin” in no random order.
But “Antidote” and “Freq Out” are the two break out hits on this album. “Antidote” is slower in tempo than the other songs and stands in total isolation to most of the other tracks. “Freq Out” will have you bouncing your head back and forth, moving to the video game and pinball sounds Heine pulls out of his computer. “How May I Help You?” is not a song, but a conversation between a shopper and a consumer. Very short, but you will find yourself pressing the rewind button on your CD player several times just to hear the exchange. “Jupiter” is all-instrumental, but does the job in making the listener’s ears smile.
“Escape” is a perfect example of what Gentlemen of Leisure originally should have done in the studio. Gentlemen of Leisure could have produced a much better album. But on the majority of the songs in the album, it just feels like the Gentlemen did not know which direction they wanted to take. Sometimes a song gets off to a great start, then gets stuck in a rut in the middle, only to go out with a bang. Gentlemen of Leisure feels like a schizophrenic band desperately in need of a psychiatrist to help cure their many personalities.
Once they finish their sessions and go back into the studio to produce their next album, hopefully they’ll have corrected their mistakes.
Written by David Lo.