Showtime And now an album that might make you ask: How can anything so abrasive also be so catchy? But then "abrasive" and "catchy" together might… Showtime And now an album that might make you ask: How can anything so abrasive also be so catchy? But then "abrasive" and "catchy" together might… Nitzer Ebb Rock
Music Review

Showtime (1990)

EW's GRADE
A

Details Lead Performance: Nitzer Ebb; Genre: Rock

And now an album that might make you ask: How can anything so abrasive also be so catchy?

But then ''abrasive'' and ''catchy'' together might describe what life can be like in big cities: The shows! The excitement! The traffic! The decay!

Nitzer Ebb — British guys manipulating electronic machines — throw all of it in our faces at once. They kick Showtime off with a burr of grating industrial noise. Bit by bit the noise shakes itself awake. It's standing on its feet...it's starting to move...omigod, it's a dance beat! Toxic waste dances as it rots the city's sewers. To quote the title of one of the songs, there's ''Fun to Be Had'' even in the midst of decay.

Meanwhile the vocals scream hoarsely about things gone wrong. You can't hear details, but maybe that makes sense: In a city falling into rubble, you wouldn't know the details. This is the band's third album; it's far more vivid than their second. It's also exactly the kind of new music radio stations aimed at older listeners never would play. Though in a world that often seems as if it might be falling apart, there's no more forceful or exacting messenger bringing the bad news. A

Originally posted Mar 02, 1990 Published in issue #3 Mar 02, 1990 Order article reprints