Perhaps you know him as the German television moderator that went to Japan and voluntarily had a solution injected into his forehead so that he had a protrusion that resembled a doughnut. Or maybe you’re familiar with him doing a stunt that saw him hanging off the side of a mountain, crying in fear. Or perhaps you know Klaas Heufer-Umlauf as one half of the duo Joko & Klaas, whose television shows — including the most recent shows: Circus Halligalli, Duel um die Welt — are a mix of Jackass style stunts of stupidity and, in the case of Circus Halligalli, the leading show for celebrities to be interviewed and promote their projects to a younger audience. (Ever Peer Steinbrück tried promoting himself there prior to the German election in 2013; clearly it didn’t pay dividends for him.)
But man can not live by stupid stunts alone. He needs nourishment for the soul and artistic satisfaction. That’s where Gloria, the German language indie rock band featuring Heufer-Umlauf and Wir Sind Helden member Mark Tavassol, comes into view.
After years of working and collaborating together on music as a sort of hobby, the duo finally released their self-titled debut album in 2013 on Grönland Records.
There’s often skepticism when non-musicians enter the music arena. After all, who doesn’t secretly want to be a rock star? People often say Ringo Starr isn’t the best drummer. But, what he did was perfect for the music he was making. The same could be said here about Gloria. There’s an overarching theme of minimalism of sorts and, likewise, Heufer-Umlauf isn’t going to be doing any sort of vocal acrobatics. But his vocals perfectly compliment the music that he and Tavassol are making. Tracks like “Wie sehr wir leuchten” have a warm melody to get your toes tapping and an uplifting chorus you’ll remember. “Eignes Berlin” takes a bit to get going, but once it does, the song hits all the spots an indie rock tune should and gets lost in airy instrumentation accented by hints of brass instruments. The lead off single for the duo’s album, “Warten,” is propelled by a driving rock chorus.
If you happen to be in Germany, keep an eye out for the duo. They’re currently on tour.