Album Reviews

Maximilian Hecker – I’ll Be A Virgin I’ll Be A Mountain

(V2) UK release date: 4 December 2006

With five years and three albums already under his belt, this is the latest release from the German indie crooner and former busker. If you’re familiar with his previous work, he needs no introduction. If you’re not, then think of it as along the lines of Air, Rufus Wainwright and Thom Yorke with a distinct whiff of Coldplay here and there.

Hecker’s vocals are soft and breathy, and seem to glide effortlessly above the ubiquitous piano, drum and strings accompaniment. The whole effect is gently subtle, although pretty much what you’d expect from the torch song genre. It’s more down-tempo than his previous releases, and whilst the impact is quiet and touching, it remains somehow glacial.

The man is evidently a talented singer/songwriter and everything is well produced and structured, but the songs themselves are all pretty much of a muchness. Some are slightly more haunting, while others have a more softly angelic edge to them. However, even the title track doesn’t really raise its head above the parapets.

There are a couple of tracks that are still worthy of note. Although in the case of Silly Lily Funny Bunny, it’s for the sake of a title that wouldn’t look out of place on a Girls Aloud album rather than the actual tune. Snow White has an almost fairy-tale ethereal quality and Grey is arguably the most commercial track on the album with a distinct edge, but there is definitely only one contender in the all-round outstanding track race.

Messed-up Girl is absolutely stunning, the beautiful and heart-breaking story of a cheating partner whom you love too much to leave, and can’t understand why they keep coming back to you. Hecker’s vocals really bring across the tortured confusion, and you’ve got to have a heart of stone not to have some kind of emotional reaction.

Listening to this is a reasonably enjoyable experience considering some of the utter drivel that’s around at the moment. Bearing in mind that in the run up to Christmas you’re hard pressed to find something that isn’t a compilation or greatest hits collection you could do a lot worse. However, whilst there are no bad tracks on the album, it’s basically background music. If they were still making Ally McBeal, this would be the guy singing in the bar.

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Maximilian Hecker – I’ll Be A Virgin I’ll Be A Mountain