[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
Getting an album like this is always a welcome surprise. Throughout the 1990s, Beborn Beton were often overshadowed by others in the synth pop field but now after fifteen years of silence they are with us again. This time out there are far fewer names and many of those who remain have not been relevant in quite some time, there’s no need to point them out as the fans know who they are. It has to also be said that our German trio have grown up, becoming elder statesmen in a scene which prizes youth and hubris above all else. You’d hardly be alone in being caught off guard listening to this, I know I certainly was as during their heyday I wasn’t much of a fan. Truth be told, I had little use for much of this sort of music then.
What a change all the years can make.
From the opening notes of “Daisy Cutter” through the last cadence of “Who Watches the Watchmen” your attention is held firmly by the men of Beborn Beton. They don’t have to pander with any nods to the current state of electronic music because their song craft is exhilarating and refreshingly direct. Things get underway swiftly with no time wasted on slogans or lazy noodling. Our fellows didn’t put this out for anyone else besides themselves and the confidence on display is remarkable; even when they address the nature of the business on “She Cried” it is more to do with their own sense of disbelief at the situation they find themselves in. Another detail to note is their refusal to take the easy route out and rest on their own musical laurels. This isn’t a purely synthetic record and if you’re hoping to be bobbing your head along mindlessly to club hits then ‘A Worthy Compensation’ isn’t for you.
This is a mainly mid-tempo collection of tunes and while there is the incisively hook driven monstrosity “24/7 Mystery”, the emphasis is more to do with reflections and observations which the band have made over the span of their career. They know that the world is broken and that there is trouble brewing on our little planet but instead of just stringing together a bunch of cynically chosen media samples, Beborn Beton place the onus on the individual. Is this how things are going to stay? Do you like what your life is showing you… are you happy with where you’re headed.
They believe in love, they know that there’s an angel still waiting for them and yet they celebrate their last day on Earth with just as much zeal. Inhale. Exhale. You take it for granted until you slow down and really stop to think about it and that, more than anything else, is what makes ‘A Worthy Compensation’ such a pleasure to listen to. The elegant arrangements and sinuous vocals are only half of the equation, because at the end of day it comes down to this maxim: you only get back what you give. Everybody wants it all but no one wants to sacrifice… people want everything but they won’t risk lifting a finger to attain their goal.Let someone else do the legwork, I’m busy posting pictures of my pets mimicking human behavior. Yeah, humanity totally deserves to endure.
Now if the first ten songs aren’t enough to bring you to the table, they have made an additional disc available which features not only remixes from the likes of their old pals Daniel Myer and Iris but also a fittingly stark cover of “Folsom Prison Blues” by the late, great Johnny Cash. This set also comes on vinyl, everybody, I know how much people are into this sort of thing nowadays. However, this wax plays almost flawlessly unlike the majority of what is foisted off on the listening public. Here’s the cherry on top: they somehow rounded up former Merry Thoughts member Chuck Mellow to remix “24/7 Mystery” which shows an attention to detail no one and I mean no one bothers with anymore.
Right, that’s enough. Get your own damn copy.