Hans-Jürgen Fuchs, a multi-instrumentalist and music-producer from Germany, has been involved in many different musical projects. Recently he released Leaving Home, his first solo album under his family name. In the biography about the concept of the album you can read that it tells the story of his German family between 1920 and 1945, beginning with the happy years of a young love, followed by Hitler's seizure of power ending in curse and expulsion. It's the story of his father's family, pieced together from his grandmother's anecdotes.
A seventy-five minute concept album with such content is rather heavy to listen to, but Fuchs did a fine job. Sixteen songs take you along musical styles of the seventies (Peter Gabriel), the eighties (Simple Minds, U2, Martin Ansell) and the nineties (the late Kevin Gilbert). He succeeded in blending those influences rather nicely. Listen to the glorious new wave intro of Summer We Come and you know what to play to chase the rain away! Other highlights are Symphony In Disguise, Forgive Me - which starts in silence with piano, slide-guitar and cello and breaks out with a complete orchestration - and the closing title track containing a stunning finale that leaves you behind in silence...
Both the artwork and the album production are okay, the record sounds very open, dynamic and well-layered. Hans-Jürgen Fuchs has a lot of experience in producing; he knows exactly what to do during and after the recordings. However, the lyrics are rather commonplace and never reach the level of the storytelling he promised in his biography. Maybe he had to write and sing the story in German; it's probably a lot easier to find the proper words to express such an inheritance. Moreover, Fuchs would have avoided my closing question then: why is it impossible for German vocalists to sing in English without a German accent?
*** Gert Bruins (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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