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When someone hears the phrase “German techno duo,” the first image summoned up is likely that of Dieter from Sprockets. Kraftwerk created the unfeeling, robotic stereotype attached to German synthesists way back when they invented synth-pop, but it was Mike Meyers who forever codified the idea in the minds of Americans that Germans + synthesizers = disaffected, androgynous aesthetes who are too cool to care much about anything (except their pet monkeys).
The Hamburg duo Digitalism is working hard to overcome that image. Not only have they graced their second album with the reasonably emotive title I Love You, Dude, but the music they create is a far cry from the man-machine music pioneered by Kraftwerk. On “2 Hearts,” Digitalism mix synthesized guitars with a go-for-the-throat uptempo pulse that would impress even Dieter with its passion.
Lyrically, Digitalism aren’t afraid to get all emotive. “These two hearts will make it last,” vows vocalist Jens Moelle as he imagines being cast away with the object of his affection. Moelle is such a romantic idealist that he’s certain the mere touch of his hand is enough to open that other person’s eyes to all that is wonderful in the world. The guy is quite the sweet talker.
It’s a pretty far cry from “Your story has become tiresome” or any of Dieter’s other catchphrases from Saturday Night Live, which seems to be Digitalism’s aim. German dance music has had a reputation of being emotionless at best or homicidally angry at worst for decades now. With “2 Hearts,” Digitalism shows that German techno musicians can be just as goopily romantic as anyone else, and do so to a catchy tune.