Cryptex: Madeleine Effect

Another intrepid album from the German group.

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Germany’s Cryptex appeared on the scene in 2011, with an ambitious and fearless debut which incorporated such unconventional instruments as didgeridoo and harp.

With influences as wide-ranging as Queen, The Who and even ragtime bands, it was an enlightening recording. Madeleine Effect is another quirky collection of songs that torpedoes the timeworn theory of difficult second albums. Conceptually thoughtful, the lyrics deal with the process by which memories are triggered in the brain – which admittedly has the air of pretentious twaddle but in this setting works well. The downside of such a concept is that there are moments, such as on the opener The Knowledge Of Being and Ribbon Tied Swing, where their music triggers vivid memories of Queen. Yet even where their influences are at the fore, these never become completely overbearing, and Cryptex add in enough twists to make their music pretty compelling. Occasionally, their eccentric foibles misfire, notably on the peculiar soul rap of Romper Stomper but elsewhere, Cryptex prove that they’re a highly capable band with a pleasing eye for bizarre rhythms and melodies.