(updated 12 November 2011; original review prepared 27 March 2009) After a moderate hiatus, Chandeen has returned with a new female vocalist. Formed in 1990 by Harald Löwy and Oliver Henkel, the band has always featured the work of stunning female vocalists beginning with Aline Akbari (1991–93) and Catrin Mallon (1993–94), but the longest serving Antje Schulz (1992–2004) and Stephanie Härich (1995–2002). Indeed, Chandeen was regularly featured on Hyperium's 1990s Heavenly Voices various artist compilations. Chandeen's last album before the break was a retrospective style album entitled Pandora's Box.
Henkel and Mallon left in 1994 and released an album entitled Ambiguous under the moniker Edera. Antje Schulz left the band to work initially with In Strict Confidence and is now singing with Spin Spin Sugar. She also sang as a guest on Art of Infinity's stunning new age track "Cosmic Rain" found on their Dimension Universe album. After departing Chandeen, Stephanie Härich joined the band Rosie's Pool who have recorded only demos to date.
We have corresponded with Harald since the band's earliest releases, however, Musical Discoveries first began reviewing Chandeen's music in 1998 coincident with the release of their album Spacerider-Love at First Light. Read the broad selection of Chandeen album reviews and band interviews in links provided in this review's left margin.
Chandeen's new vocalist, Julia Beyer, has a rich history with other bands. Teenage Poetry (Kalinkaland (Germany) KAL33, 2008) is comprised of eleven (numbered) darkwave-styled tracks with some pop influences with a running time of about 53 minutes. It opens with the rather brief title track and ends with an epic atmospheric number entitled "Dreaming A Thousand Dreams" that are most reminscent of the band's earliest music dating back to their Shaded by the Leaves (1994) and Jutland (1995) period. The band refers to its own style as electronic poetry, however, from the middle of the 1990s, the band's style changed to a more pop-oriented sound with influences from rock and trip hop. The new album's title refers to Chandeen's return and a resurgance of their earlier style.
Julia Beyer comes to the fore in "Welcome the Still," demonstrating her power range and sensual style. Listen for the blend of swirling keyboards, light acoustic guitar and rich arrangements that characterize Chandeen's sound backing the new singer. "New Colouring Horizon" is a dynamically arranged number opening as a ballad before Chandeen's full splendour is revealed in the song's rich middle section. While "At The End of All Days" is a dark primarily instrumental number, Juilia's rich vocal harmonies emerge again in the warmly arranged electronic track "From The Inside."
The album's pop-oriented electronic standout is "Looking Forward, Looking Back." With a long fading ending, this stunning Delerium-esque verse-chorus number has a recurring melody and is especially memorable.
Brooding guitar excursions, atmospherics and spoken words in the primarily instrumental "A Last Goodbye" make the track tug at heartstrings. The rhythmic industrial arrangements in "Clean The Traces" have a bluesy texture that provides the backdrop for Julia's soaring lead and warm backing vocal harmonies. Keyboard washes relight images of the very earliest Chandeen, while a stunning bass solo introduces the trance-style second half of the song.
"The Coming Dawn" is also styled with spoken words and features a wonderful flute part in the beginning and acoustic guitar part in the midsecton. Listen also for the sensual lead vocal and stunning vocalise before the powerful instrumental conclusion. It is bookended by "The Sentiments of an Old Love Story" again featuring spoken word backed with warm keyboard washes. The epic and brooding track "Dreaming a Thousand Dreams" is richly arranged with warm keyboard washes and spoken words providing the backdrop for Julia's soaring lead vocal. Note that it also contains the album's hidden twelfth track for those that withstand the wait to the 5:45 mark. Entitled "Tomorrow" atmospherics and a warm piano melody back the stunning lead vocal work of Lovespirals' Anji Bee. Backing vocal layers add terrific texture to the arrangement.
Chandeen's return with Teenage Poetry is certain to rekindle interest in the band.
This new album's blend of atmospheric textures, dramatic numbers with spoken word and more accessible tracks is utterly delightful.