CD: 12 Songs; 63:12 Minutes
Styles: Guitar Monster Blues Rock, Debut Album
One of my favorite Internet hobbies is reading the movie reviews on RogerEbert.com. Critic Simon Abrams had this to say about a film that premiered just in time for Halloween: “While I can’t exactly recommend seeing Jigsaw, I can tell you that it’s fun to watch. I just don’t think it’s the kind of fun the filmmakers planned.” This apt comparison also applies to …Years of Ball Ends, the perplexing debut album from Germany’s Michael Dühnfort and the Noise Boys. Ms. Wetnight hates to be so harsh about a first release, but in this case she’ll make an exception. The good news? Our leading man knows how to rip and roar on electric guitar, channeling SRV and Joe Satriani on his 1980’s masterpiece Surfing with the Alien. He plays introductory riffs and solos with dizzying speed, causing one to wonder if he wrote their musical notes down at all. The bad news? Where to start: his grinding grooves that sound more like ruts, his heavily-accented vocals, or his ribald lyrics? “She Sucks Me like a Honey Bee” is a prime example of these, but there’s also “Little Willy, just take a blue pill. Wait a moment; enjoy the thrill!” No one can deny that he and the Noise Boys have enough energy to put a rambunctious three-year-old to sleep. With that said, Ball Ends leans so far to the “rock” side of blues rock that it falls off the edge.
Forgive me for running the band’s biographical text through Google Translate, but their website is in German: “Born 1962 in Bremen lives and works the glass designer and musician Michael Dühnfort today with his wife Angelika Dühnfort in Wurthfleth-Rechtebe, a small village directly on the dike between Bremen and Bremerhaven. A deliberately chosen retreat as a source of inspiration for the creation of musical pieces and design ideas in glass…In 1998, the focus of his artistic work shifted exclusively and intensively to the music. Own songs and pent-up ideas demanded realization. Michael founded the blues rock trio Michael Dühnfort & the Noise Boys…According to Dühnfort, the form of a trio is the ideal instrument for his music and his ideas. Voice, guitar, drums and bass, every instrument must be constantly present, an exhausting endeavor, which the audience with the perception of the energy, the passion and the nuances of the feelings of every musician…”
This above-mentioned trio consists of Michael Dühnfort on lead vocals and guitar, Steffen Schmidt on bass and background vocals, and Michael Löscher on drum and background vocals. Special guest Andrea Müller guest stars on e-piano.
The following song is the only one out of twelve originals that sounds remotely like the blues.
Track 06: “Deeper” – “So many lies around me. Who tells me what is true?” asks our narrator as he plunges ever-deeper into a romantic relationship. The blues key here is Michael’s guitar. It may not match any rhythm of the old masters, but it has the right tone and timber, the right tempo, and the right atmosphere. Dance if you like, because it’s the sole track fit for dancing.
I’d like to echo Simon Abrams’ sentiment in my final verdict: “While I can’t exactly recommend listening to …Years of Ball Ends, it’s fun to parse and puzzle out. What, exactly, are Michael Dühnfort and the Noise Boys trying to say through their music? I just don’t think their debut album’s fun is the sort they had originally planned.”