"Neuroderivat" (Album, 2012)
A solo-project by Michael Stalzer (aka MeCha), who is probably better-known for his band Reizstrom (even though Menschliche Energie has be going longer and had more releases). A new ME album, More Organic, has just been released, but I was directed to this last year by the Global Citizen cover – a band which I am incapable of not listening to for very long.
Neuroderivat lacks the purity of character that Rich Mills' Global Citizen demonstrates, nevertheless there's a continuity of mood and tone that makes me think there's potentially as much mileage in Menschliche Energie as there is in Reizstrom. The cover in question is of Hilton and is a masterful example of what can be achieved by re-interpreting the work of others.
The rest of the self-penned album may lack a little definition, but MeCha's skill in building and delivering memorable melodies within a darker-than-usual synthpop framework harks backs to an entire sub-genre created by Depeche Mode on their Broken Frame album, which (sadly) no-one really took up the baton for. Whilst we're talking DM, Work To Be Done sounds like U-Men era Front 242 writing for Depeche Mode's Construction Time Again album. It's a curiously affecting outcome. 7/10
Rob Dyer (September 2013)