Getting a new Boytronic album in the mail has been a dream of mine for years. Actually receiving one now seems almost surreal, as the odds certainly did not speak for a reunion. Holger Wobker and Peter Sawatzki, the original craftsmen behind Boytronic, had quite a row with their record label in the mid eighties, ending up in a poorly executed last single called "Hurts", released as a result of greed and with no consideration to the band's wishes to finish an unfinished track.
When the name Boytronic was taken up by two German keyboarders and producers, Bela Lagonda and Hayo Panarinfo, it was a totally different band. Recruiting English vocalist Marc Wade made Boytronic version 2.0 sound more commercially polished, but it was still hall of fame synthpop, this time with remarkable chorus power. 1992, however, marked the end of Boytronic (I'm not counting the techno singles of 1994). For good, one would think.
But Holger and Peter began toying with an idea to reform the original line up a few years back and actually started recording demos for a new album, when Peter tragically passed away. As a result, we now stand face to face with a combo of the two Boytronic versions, with Wobker handling vocal duties and Panarinfo twisting the knobs.
So, is "Autotunes" a successful comeback or just a pathetic attempt to revive past stardom?
I can, in all honesty, say that this album is worth the wait. It does combine the strengths of both band editions. Hayo's sense for pop and dance structures works well with Holger's trademark vocals on "Autotunes". It's highly electronic sounding, spiced occasionally by modest guitars, and utterly pleasant for an old Boytronic fan like yours truly. The first single"Living without You" showed the most diversely orchestrated sound of the album, the rest is more synthpoppish, with fast and slow taking turns. Lyrically, Boytronic were always about love and that romanticism is still very much present. "I Will Follow" is an addictive, bouncy pop song and the last track, "In die Dunkelheit", melancholic ballad perfection. The whole album oozes eighties synthpop, but the it is neatly packaged in a modern frame. "How Soon" and "The Wire" are current favourites, but they vary wildly.
To sum up, "Autotunes" was pretty much what I expected.