[Teenmachine sleeve]

"Teenmachine" (Album, 2006)

Noise Terror Productions/Dependent

Not sure what I was expecting from this. It being a co-production with fledgling splinter label NPT may have loaded my thoughts with sub-Suicide Commando noise. I loved the cartoon sleeve design but it was possibly some of the song titles that seeded doubts. Not much one for humour in music some of the songs set my mind reeling and somehow created the audio equivalent of a vision in my mind's eye of a horrible bastard fusion of Goteki and Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Thankfully, my mind conjured creation was seriously wide of the mark.

My utter ignorance of Insekt prior to them popping up on NPT/Dependent perhaps says much about the limits of any human interest radar. The quality that underpins Teenmachine will come as no surprise to anyone already familiar with Eric Van Wonterghem or Mario Vaerewijck who between, them since the start of the 80s, have been involved with a pretty impressive roster of cult outfits including The Klink, Vomito Negro, Dive, Monolith and Sonar. I'd even seen these guys live in various guises but that fact just didn't register. But at least it proves that I take each release on it merits and my judgement isn't clouded either by PR bumph or reputations.

Here's a list to give your mind a better sense of what this actually delivers:

Sex on The Flag era KMFDM
early Sheep on Drugs
Dance or Die
Nitzer Ebb

all fighting each other in a dark alley somewhere in A Clockwork Orange.

It varies from track to track as to who of these comes out on top. Play The Game is very Dance or Die both in sound and construction terms, but like everything here it never sounds derivative though and easily stands on its own merits. Push The Needle initially sounds like a faintly demented Nitzer Ebb but also rumbles on to do its own thing. Teenmachine is like Suicide Commando sans the anger and hatred. But don't get me wrong, with so much experience behind them, it isn't a shock to hear that Van Wontergheim and Vaerewijck manage to do their own thing. The seven minute Damage Done is a serious track, moody and atmospheric, as is Give It Up / Don't Give It Up that proves these guys talents are extensive and that they know just what they are up to.

Bonus track Funker Vogt's remix of Bambifucker (unusually shorter than the original) is actually an improvement. The simple Funker Vogt focus on dance beats is well suited to the song and shows good judgement in choosing the remix artist. So, although somehow Insekt have managed to release four studio albums, plus one live LP, this is the first time I've noticed them. Shameful I know, but the gap has now, well and truly, been filled. 7/10

Rob Dyer (March 2007)

Official Insekt website: