Quirky, kooky, even kazooey — those are some of the words that spring to mind on first exposure to Der Plan. The group remains one of the great under-regarded treasures of the early '80s “Neu Deutsche Welle,” or new German wave. Founded in Düsseldorf in 1979, their stated aim was seemingly commercial — to create “electronic hit songs.” But despite their cartoon playfulness, their early music carried hints of the Residents and the mordant expressionism of The Cabinet of Dr Caligari. Their first two albums, 1980's Geri Reig and 1981's Normalette Surprise were re-released as a pair in 1996. They're crammed with miniature delights and inscribed with the tiniest but most telling details — the burst of church bells on “Wenn der Sonne Ist Verbl,” or the chilling, childlike lyrics of “Meine Freunder." Der Plan offered a whole new array of methods for assembling pop songs.
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