Make Sure You Listen: ‘Tarifa’ by Mensch

Make Sure You Listen: ‘Tarifa’ by Mensch

Adriana SaboWednesday,2 September 2015

MENSCH signifie ‘être humain’ en allemand.” Or, in English, Mensch means ‘being human’ in German. Not to mention the fact that it refers to an amazing French duo–Vale Poher and Carine Di Vita– who make music that you simply have to dance to. Poher and Di Vita are two creative musicians from Lyon, France who, in 2010, decided to start a joint project. On August 28th, they released Tarifa (via tsunami addiction), a post punk/new wave album that to my mind, brings associations of bands like the French-German Stereo Total (mostly in catchy post punk melodies, with a sea of differences, of course). It is “European,” if you wish, influenced by many genres and made for moving your body to the beat. Plus, if you find French beautiful, listening to this album will bring complete satisfaction. The duo describes their music in these words:

“Bass / Guitar / Keyboards and Beatboxes, aerial vocals and catchy tunes. The duo combines rock, kraut, pop, afrobeat & new wave, all of which make up the Mensch sound… somewhere between LCD Soundsystem and Blondie… let’s dance and die!”

Tarifa is, I must say, a refreshment in the genre, an innovative view on new wave music, Blondie given a contemporary guise. The album opens with “Saudade,” a somewhat dark track with a prominent bass line (brought to front in the process of production) that doesn’t lack the fun, dancing beat. The “freaky” guitar riff and the synths are matched perfectly in this song to make an opening that will make you strongly wish to hear the rest of the album.

“Cosmopolitain” is a bit more positive, with catchy motifs and melodies flying all over the place.  The echo on the voice that sings in French is especially effective. “Push Me Away” keeps up with the catchy riff and a bouncy rhythm. If you let it, it will send you bouncing in your living room, waving your head around. As far as catchiness of the album goes, this track is definitely at the top of the list. “The Greatest Escape” is all about the beat. A strong, persistent beat, coupled by a somewhat dark atmosphere, brought on by the voice. As I moved to the title track, “Tarifa,” I couldn’t help but feel like Tarifa is one of the best post punk albums that I’ve have heard in a long time. “After Love” changes the pace a bit, begging with a cappella singing, followed by a catchy riff and a dance beat that will move you. “More Is More” is another happy, positive, bouncy track that still doesn’t lack the distinct new wave darkness or melancholy (however you like to describe that downbeat feeling), while the closing song, “Dusk,” finishes the album in a nostalgic way.

Tarifa is an incredibly creative mélange of influences, genres and ideas. Mensch’s music is layered, complex and clearly the result of years and years of experience in different areas of music. From the initial idea, to the playing and singing technique and production, this album is amazing. It will make you feel good about yourself, and feel comfortable in your own skin. You’ll even start singing the lines after a short while. So, what more can I say. Make sure you check it out!

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Hat Tips:

Bandcamp, Mensch, Facebook, Image Credit: YouTube screen shot

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