Top positive review
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Europe Endless(ly enjoyable)
on 6 June 2012
One of the most enjoyable and innovative records of its era, Kraftwerk's 'Trans Europe Express' is a masterpiece of eerily beautiful, paranoid synth-pop. The album's general structure is, as one might expect, the journey of the Trans Europe Express train, yet the scope and feel of the album go far beyond the train itself (something that cannot be said for Kraftwerk's later 'Computer World'). There isn't a bad song on the entire album, though some are admittedly stronger than others. Opener 'Europe Endless' is the best piece on the album, and arguably Kraftwerk's finest ever song, awash with infectiously catchy electro beats, vocoder-filtered vocals, and prescient lyrics - "promenades and avenues, Europe endless/real lives and postcard views, Europe endless". The album does admittedly have a few relatively weaker (albeit still good) tracks, such as the slightly over-repetitive, yet hypnotic title track, and 'Metal on Metal', these being the two songs which adhere most strictly to the sounds and concept of the train, and lose out a little, from doing so.
Still, many of the numbers here, such as the classically-influenced 'Franz Schubert' and the creepy, yet wonderfully melodic 'Showroom Dummies'; an evocation both of social unrest and of the 'robot' image, which the band attempted to cultivate, almost reach the standard of 'Europe Endless' (whilst both sounding largely different to that track). In truth, there's little to criticise about 'Trans Europe Express'. It is a record which still sounds remarkably fresh and powerful over thirty years later (especially with this latest remastering), and which perfectly highlights why Kraftwerk were such an excellent and an influential band. For anyone looking for a great, early synth-pop record, or even just a hauntingly beautiful, pared-down record, then I would recommend 'Trans Europe Express' unreservedly.