The 39 Clocks could have hailed from exactly nowhere other than 1981 Germany. If the post-punk era was all about inverting the revolution of the late ’70s, this duo saw fit to not only explode tropes about New Wave music, but also sought to destroy any preconceptions one may have had about German musicians being stone-faced auteurs. The group’s performances were legendarily confrontational, drawing upon similar philosophical inspirations as the New York No Wavers by cramming noise, audience-baiting and garage-rock simplicity down concertgoers’ throats.
Unfortunately, the tunes on Pain It Dark don’t muster up quite the same amount of animosity. The duo’s “Psycho Beat” sound (named, logically enough, after their own song) comes off as more “beat” than “psycho” in its studio form, and although cuts like “Radical Student Mob in Satin Boots” and the utterly appropriately titled “Stupid Art” were likely blistering in a live setting, their impact is neutered here by era-specific production techniques and, ultimately, the Clocks’ own minimalist touch.
Standout Tracks: “Psycho Beat” “Stupid Art”