Ideal – “Ideal” (1980)

This is my second foray into Neue Deutsche Welle, aka New German Wave, that early 1980s blend of post-punk, new wave, and electronic music that burst onto the scene in West Germany like a fireball and almost as quickly burned itself out. Previously I wrote about Extrabreit; this time around it’s Ideal. The band’s singer Annette Humpe was previously in Neonbabies before co-founding Ideal in 1980s, and as a result there was an odd situation in which both bands recorded and released a song she wrote, “Blaue Augen”, in 1980, and for Ideal it was their highest charting single during their brief three-year existence.

There’s a frenetic quality to the opening track “Berlin”, one that carries through much of Ideal with the notable exception of the sludgy, viscous “Telephathe”. Even when the pace is slower, the songs have a certain edge to them, not quite a desperation but more of an insistence. The B side has some great jams, “Luxus” and “Rote Liebe” being among the album’s high points, alongside the dub-infused “Da Leg Ich Mich Doch Lieber Hin”. Ideal is a touch dated, but c’mon, this record is 40 years old, so it’s surprising just how good it sounds.