One Day CD

One Day

DCD, Avant Garden Records/Love Da Records/Pastel Music/Pocket Records/Louisville Records, 2008/2009

Maximilian Hecker | One Day

back Music so sweet it may save lives if played at the right moment. Maximilian Hecker has been taking detours over various continents to hone his pop-production- and –songwriting-craft. It is quite clear where he is headed towards from the first song on his fifth album. “The space that you’re in” is a bittersweet lovesong, with all the ingredients you would wish for: a string section mixed with various other classical instrument, a chorus melody so sweet and melancholic it takes you away on romantic dreamtravels and a production so full and wide that you start looking for a word that transcribes cinemascope into audio. Song two on the album, aptly called “Misery” though it is somewhat upbeat with its electric guitar and heavy drums, shows that he is now ready to take on the pop-championship. I am not talking about mediocre mainstream pop à la Coldplay but the full range of pop king: Richard Ashcroft. I, at least, haven’t heard pop-visions as grande and as uninhibited since the first two solo albums by Ashcroft.

Hecker takes a different route, as he always would. Using weary-eyed, submerged singing and even those awful Seventies-tv-series glockenspiel sounds on “Miss Underwater”, imitates late Eighties melodies on “Summerwaste” (A-Ha or Nik Kershaw, I cannot yet decide) and does other unspeakable things during the course of this album. In a nutshell, he’ll use any kind of sound, even a steel guitar, if it fits. And last but definitely not least his lyrics seem to become more and more abstract – so as not to call them weird – with time. He likes to remain in the dreamy, melancholic, sad pace of late Sunday afternoon on top. But the most important thing, the in more than one way magical thing is, that it works. Even with an old noisehead and ex-punkrocker like me, his pop music hits a button and leaves me wide open and welcome. Maybe it is all about my suppressed memories of growing up in the Eighties, who will ever know, but at the moment I don’t care. I just want to close my eyes, imagine I am still a teenager and all the problems of the world are loaded on my shoulders, and have Hecker help me softly sweep them away one by one.

I know, that usually I cannot be easily guided into saying something nice about the Eighties (what is nice about neon-colours, AIDS and the fear of the atomic bomb?) but if you put me in the right mood I may admit about some things. And Hecker is able to put me in just the mood to mention a few things that I liked about the decade I lived through my puberty in, like pop music. After beat and rock’n’roll and disco and funk had vanished the time was right for synthie-pop and elusive melodies again. Melodies that of course had their roots in the two or three decades that preceded them, and also the whole pop circuit was sidelined by heavy metal on the one side and industrial on the other side. Everybody seems to be all revved up about Lloyd Cole these days, for some reason, and “One Day” might be one of them.

So, after all and taking all of the above into account, Hecker might be headed into a completely different direction and is straight on the way to become the James Taylor of the digital age. Nothing bad about that, actually, I like the first Taylor-albums as much as anybody (and also Carole King, Rickie Lee Jones, Joni Mitchell or Bill Withers, to be honest) and after all he has penned a few songs that will stay in the canon of modern songwriting for ever without ever becoming kitschy or pathetic. Which in itself is basically more than 99.9 % of all songwriters of the last five years have done. I cannot say which of the songs on “One Day”, if any, will ever reach that status, because that is for the next decades to show.