The Return of Kraftwerk (and why you shouldn’t be disappointed)
– Tom Ewing, Freaky Trigger, 2000.
“Listen to ‘Europe Endless,’ the first track on Trans-Europe Express. It sounds pristine, beautiful, Utopian, even before the soft-spoken voice comes in. There’s nothing ‘rock’ about that voice, but there’s nothing cold or mechanical either. What I hear is history, sadness and hope: the great, scarred old continent looking into a future which might at last be peaceful. Far from the blank-eyed conceptualists their legacy casts them as, Kraftwerk at their peak made intensely reflective, poignant music. Their embrace of the synthesiser’s beauty and stability can be taken as a stern or canny comment on mechanisation — but it can also be heard as music made in a time and place which needed stability, which was weary or suspicious of rock’s wanton drama and rage to expend itself.”